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10 August 2016

How You Think- Daniel Khaneman (He won a Nobel Prize for this)

You are a lousy critical thinker. So am I, but if you’ve read Daniel Khaneman’s book “Thinking Fast-Thinking Slow” you are better at it than those who haven’t! His book is not only a best seller, but a must read. How we make decisions is a fascinating subject, and while you may not take the time to read his book and get the details, you should watch his talk at Google …

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5 August 2016

Three Great Popular Science Books (and a bonus 4th)

I have not made any book recommendations lately, so it is high time I do. First for my fellow atmospheric science geeks (and those who have a math/physics background), the Tropical Meteorology textbook that was produced by Met-Ed (COMET) is excellent (you will need to register, but it’s free) and I have been enjoying it. I finally have my head around equatorial Kelvin waves! Even high school students (who have …

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2 August 2016

The Data is In from Ellicott City’s Flood Saturday Night. It’s Incredible.

The NWS in Baltimore-Washington posted an excellent summary of the data from the historic (and deadly) flood in Ellicott City, MD. on Saturday evening. I wrote about this flood yesterday but there is even more data now from flood gauges on area streams and more precise rainfall data. Go here: http://www.weather.gov/lwx//EllicottCityFlood2016 . The stream gauge data shows just how quickly the local streams can rise in an event like this. There has …

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29 July 2016

Why The Tropical Atlantic is So Quiet

I used our new touch screen to show viewers why the Tropical Atlantic has been so quiet as we approach August. The answer is dust, and I showed some NASA satellite data that rarely gets shown on TV. Anchor Chris Weimer held my iPhone beside the camera while I did it. I then headed over to the green chroma-key wall to do the weekend forecast for the Eastern Shore of …

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25 July 2016

This is Why Satellite Pictures Look This Way

..and then there are these images, all from today Sunday 24 July 2016. It looks this way because of two main facts. 1. The Equator is hot, and the Poles are cold. 2. The Earth is rotating. Now, watch the video and understand (I still remember seeing this demonstration as a first year undergrad in meteorology.)

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21 July 2016

The Gravity in Greenland is Dropping, No Really.

Check out this NASA movie showing the changes in sea level since 2002. Blue areas show rising oceans, and yellow/red show dropping sea levels. Watch the movie, and pay attention to the area near Greenland. So WHY is the sea level dropping around Greenland?? NASA has the answer. The Greenland ice sheet is melting, and therefore there is less mass. Less mass, means less gravity pulling the ocean water toward …

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17 July 2016

What Not To Do During The Heat Wave Next Week!

There is very high agreement in the medium range models this morning that an intense heat wave will build across the Eastern U.S. this coming week. It will begin in the Plains on Tuesday, and get much stronger by Wednesday, spreading highs above 100 into the Dakotas and Minnesota. It will then steadily shift eastward, reaching the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic by Friday, and over the weekend. The oceans globally (and …

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13 July 2016

Is Your Local Weather Reporter Afraid to Mention The Climate Elephant?

Jason Samenow over at Capital Weather Gang (Washington Post) has a great piece today, and it has led to a wide discussion among broadcast meteorologists. I’ve written before about this subject, and while coverage of climate issues has increased dramatically over the past few years, there are some on air forecasters who for one reason or another are loathe (or even forbidden) to mention it. One station in Little Rock …

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3 July 2016

The Science Behind That Awesome Photo You Saw on Twitter or Facebook

Meteorologist see a whole lot more in this image however, and it even shows the promise of better warnings of severe weather. This is especially true for rural areas/ poor nations that have only a rudimentary severe weather warning system in place. The image was apparently taken from an airliner over the Pacific.  You’re looking at a very intense thunderstorm, with an updraft of air that towers into the stratosphere …

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29 June 2016

31 Scientific Societies Send Congress Letter on Climate Change. It pulls no punches.

A letter signed by the directors of over 30 different scientific societies was sent to the Congress this week. The AGU, and the American Meteorological Society, were among the signers. Jason Samenow at the Washington Post has a piece on this as well today. Research by Ed Maibach at George Mason Univ., and others at the Yale Program on Climate Change, indicates that the number of those who dismiss climate …

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28 June 2016

Up to 8 Inches of Rain Fall on the Eastern Shore of Maryland

I live here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and we had a severe flood event last night. Nearly 6 inches of rain fell at my house. This comes after my post yesterday about the difficulty in forecasting extreme events like floods. Look below and read what I posted to my local viewers about the event. This area is flat, so we did not have any loss of life, but …

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Using Satellite Data to Forecast Flooding

A lot of folks have a vague idea of how valuable satellite data is for forecasting severe weather. With the launch of GOES R this fall, the data will be nearly real-time, like radar is now, and it will revolutionize forecasting. That said, we already have satellite products that (using the different IR and visible channels) can detect and track water vapor in the atmosphere.  I chair the NWA Committee …

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22 June 2016

New Slide Presentation on Climate Change Dispels Common Myths

  My friend Paul Gross (at WDIV in Detroit) is the past chair of the AMS Committee on Station Science (I’m currently the chair), and he had a fantastic idea early this year that is now a reality. The idea was to develop a set of slides for broadcast meteorologists (and even teachers) that they could use to teach climate change and dispel the many myths that are constantly floating …

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24 May 2016

Tidal Troubles In The Mid-Atlantic

NOTE: This post is based on some research I did for an on-air story that aired today: Sea level rise is what’s called a slow motion disaster. These kind of events tend to be blamed on the symptoms rather than the cause, and often the preparation/ response to these type of events is inadequate. This is much the case where I live and work here in the Mid-Atlantic, on the …

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22 May 2016

Where The Fault Lies

Rural students in America who want a good education have a steep mountain to climb. Rural areas are generally poor, conservative, and tend toward fundamental religious beliefs, and this is turning out to be a real issue when it comes to teaching science. If you don’t believe me, ask a Biology teacher in rural Alabama, or almost anywhere in Texas. Too often, it’s not just angry parents they have to …

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9 May 2016

Visualizing the Heating of the Planet

An ingenious animated graphic by Ed Hawkins (Climate scientist at the Uni. of Reading in the UK) is going viral online today, and it is well worth sharing. Finding a new way to show raw data in a way that allows you to visualize what is happening, is always worth pursuing. Ed has another graph that shows how 2016 so far compares to last year. Last year was the warmest …

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4 May 2016

Chesapeake Bay Grasses Making a Comeback

My colleague Ty Butler did an excellent piece on our air (WBOC TV Eastern Shore of Maryland/Delaware) tonight about the recovery of the Chesapeake Bay grasses. This is really good news, and a sign that the health of the Bay is indeed improving. Ty has some great underwater photography in his piece, and it’s an exc. example of really good environmental science reporting. Call me impressed. Click the image below …

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2 May 2016

Songs of the Earth: Using music to connect students to the geosciences

By Jennifer Beauregard I distinctly remember a conversation I had as a graduate student. It was with a faculty member in my department and he was lamenting about how scientifically illiterate his undergraduate students were. I asked him why he did not include certain topics in his classes to address this issue. His response was that he was only going to talk about his area of expertise, not geosciences in …

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27 April 2016

Properly Communicating a Forecast Is Just As Important as Accuracy

The Storm Prediction Center’s outlook for severe weather verified fairly well yesterday. There were not that many tornadoes and the reason for this was likely that the wind shear was not that favorable in spite of an extremely unstable airmass. Still, the graphic above shows where the reports of wind damage, hail, and tornadoes were, and it matches well with the forecast outlook. The storms forecasted for New Jersey developed, …

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Oceans, policy, and high school students

By Shane M Hanlon & Lexi Shultz “Our Changing Ocean: Science for Strong Coastal Communities.” That was the theme this year for the Finals of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB), an “education competition that tests students’ knowledge of ocean-related topics, which include cross-disciplines of biology, chemistry, policy, physics, and geology.“ NOSB fills a gap that exists in many schools across the nation as ocean sciences are not a core part of many high …

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