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You are browsing the archive for 2010 December.

31 December 2010

Science Education in America

We aired this just after Christmas. My thanks to photojournalist David Wood whose work (as always) is excellent. Dan

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29 December 2010

NOAA: January-November 2010- Hottest On Record

The National Climate Data Center (NOAA) released the November temp. data today and also put the year in context. November was the second warmest on record with an average temp. of 1.24°F (.69C) above the 20th century average. Even more interesting is the fact that from Jan.- November the global temperature is the warmest on record. This is all the more surprising since we had a very quiet sun (long …

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New York and London Shiver In The Snow; Put The Blame On the NAO!

Take a look at the image below. It shows the temperatures relative to normal over the Northern Hemisphere the first week of December.  It’s from NASA, and based on data from the Aqua satellite. The cold in the Eastern USA and in Europe is offset by incredible warmth in Greenland. Any meteorologist worth his salt will immediately recognize this as a highly negative North Atlantic Oscillation. I wrote about the …

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27 December 2010

Boxing Day Blizzard Blasts Northeast Coast

Meteorologists call it a bomb. A couple of reasons for that I suspect. 1. The weather map looks like it has a bomb crater on it. 2. The pressure in these intense storms that go up the East Coast usually drops incredibly quickly. In other words, it drops like a bomb. This storm saw a pressure drop of around 19 millibars in 12 hours. The day after Christmas 2010 will …

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25 December 2010

Rare White Christmas In Southeast USA

For people who live in Tennessee, Georgia or Alabama, a white Christmas truly is just a dream. Not this Christmas though! A heavy blanket of wet snow fell before sunrise on Christmas morning across much of North Alabama. Some areas in the higher elevations of NE Alabama had over 6 inches of snow! In 1989 a dusting of snow fell on Christmas day in the region, and back in 1962 …

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23 December 2010

Frost Flowers In Alabama

A couple of viewers sent me some pictures of strange ice formations today. They are very beautiful (and rather rare) specimens of what are called “FROST FLOWERS”. They form in areas where the ground is still warm but the air is quite cold. You usually see them after a sudden but intense cold snap. I’ve only seen them one time, but have been on the lookout for them ever since! …

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22 December 2010

The Strangest Telescope On Earth is Complete!

It’s called ICE CUBE and it’s at the bottom of the World. Actually it’s IN the bottom of the World, and without doubt it’s the strangest telescope on Earth. Ice Cube is a neutrino observatory. It’s made up of hundreds of detectors embedded in the ice 1 km beneath the South Pole. My name is on one of those detectors, and it something I am very proud of! The NSF …

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20 December 2010

Carl Sagan Passed 14 Years Ago Today. His Legacy Endures

Sagan may be gone, but he is now inspiring a whole new generation. His Pale Blue Dot has now been seen by millions who were not even alive when he died 14 years ago today. There are literally thousands of scientists who were inspired by Sagan. After watching COSMOS, his amazing PBS series, I knew I wanted to study science. The fantastic discoveries being made in astrophysics and Astronomy today …

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17 December 2010

The Scale of The Universe

Consider the dot at the end of this sentence. Imagine it is on a printed page instead of your computer. If it were, it would contain around 100 billion atoms of carbon. If you wanted to see those jiggling atoms with your own eye, you would have to enlarge that do to the size of 100 meters. About as big as a football (Euro or American) field. You would then …

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16 December 2010

How Meteorologists Know to Forecast Ice Instead of Snow

We had a significant ice storm in parts of Alabama and Tennessee on Wednesday. It started as sleet and then changed to freezing rain. Driving was a mess in many spots, and it was not an easy forecast. The easy part was the type of precipitation.  I knew it would not be snow but mainly freezing rain. Take a look at the image below. It’s the weather balloon (rawinsonde) sounding …

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