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You are browsing the archive for 2009 April.

30 April 2009

Thomas Midgley RIP (If you can)

You probably have never heard of Thomas Midgley, but believe me he has impacted your life. He was a graduate of Cornell University and worked as an industrial chemist for his entire career. His first big invention was to make an additive for gasoline that almost completely eliminated knocking in car engines. The additive was made of tetra ethyl lead. If you are my age, or older, you can remember …

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28 April 2009

The Future of Severe Weather Warnings

It amazes me that in the 21st century that people are still clamoring for more tornado sirens in their communities. These sirens are outrageously expensive, and perhaps the least effective way to warn people of severe weather. Yet, after every severe weather event, I will get several emails from folks complaining that they have no siren in their neighborhood. Just to be clear, the reasons these sirens are and should …

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25 April 2009

Late Week Climate News and a Reminder About Coal

Andy Revkin at the New York Times has written a blockbuster. It seems that the Global Climate Coalition, which waged an expensive PR campaign to raise doubt about the Science of Climate Change, decided to ignore their own in-house Scientists. Well, they had to you see. The Scientists told them that the evidence was overwhelming. So who was the Global Climate Coalition?? Read Revkin. The Scientist quoted in the Revkin …

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23 April 2009

Climate Change in the Windy City

Chicago has to be my favorite U.S. city. It has a culture all it’s own, and no place in America has more interesting architecture. On a windy, and warm Sunday evening in October 1871, a raging fire consumed Chicago. Local lore blames the conflagration on a cow owned by  a Mrs. O’Leary. Unlikely, but it did start in a shed nearby. So what occupies the site now? The Chicago Fire Department’s training academy. I kid …

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20 April 2009

The Mobile Home Problem- It's Getting Worse

There have been 16 deaths from tornadoes in the USA this year. 9 of them in mobile homes. 2 more outdoors. One in a vehicle, and 4 in homes and buildings. Think about that for a second. Mobile homes make up only a small portion of the housing in this country, but in most years, at least half of the tornado deaths are in them. An EF2 tornado will destroy …

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14 April 2009

Weather "Doctor Who" Would Love- Gravity Waves? (updates at bottom)

It sounds like something right of an episode of Doctor Who. High winds arrive suddenly, and disappear 4 hours later in a flash. That’s just what happened over North Alabama Sunday night. Sonic screw drivers, and a Tardis might help explain it, but I have a pretty good idea, just the same. I can promise that the Daleks had nothing to do with it. (Although I would not put it past the Cybermen). So what did happen to …

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13 April 2009

The EF3 Tornado Crossing Lake Guntersville

The email tonight (2000+ in my in box, since last Friday), brought this stunning image, of the Marshall/Dekalb County tornado, on Friday. The tornado was snapped, as it crossed Lake Guntersville. Thanks to Martha Tellefsen, for taking such an incredible picture. The tornado was on the ground for 28 miles, from 3:07pm, until around 3:40PM. It reached 900 meters wide at times. Later, Dan

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12 April 2009

Twisters and Ice From The Sky

Good Friday 2009 will long be remembered in Alabama and Tennessee. Huge hailstones, and violent tornadoes pounded the region. Only two deaths, and some 50 injuries, but a lot of destruction. It certainly could have been worse, and to families that lost loved ones and homes, it is a tragedy that will be remembered for a life time. Many times, when severe storms hit, the only view of hail or …

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9 April 2009

Weather & Climate Models- Trust me this is interesting!

His name was Richardson. Lewis Fry Richardson. He was a British mathematician, and as a Quaker, also a pacifist. When World War one began, he enlisted as an ambulance driver to serve his country while adhering to his ideals. Richardson had the bright idea that the mathematical equations that govern the air, could be used to predict the weather. He decided to make a forecast, and divided the forecast area …

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6 April 2009

Shed A Tear For The Cryosphere

A lot of news about the Arctic Sea ice in the past few days. NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center issued a report Monday morning that showed the average ice coverage in March was 15.16 million Sq. KM. This is well below the 1979-2000 average for March. The ice is well above the record low in 2006, but the news is generally bad. Most of the ice …

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