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You are browsing the archive for 2014 April.

30 April 2014

NWS Weather Radar Upgrade Proving Wildly Successful

It was near midnight last night (April 28, 2014) when a strong super-cell storm developed an intense rotation as it approached Birmingham, AL (with a population of over a million people). Tornadoes are hard to spot at night (and they can often be wrapped in rain) making them invisible until it’s too late to take cover. While Doppler radar has made it possible to see this rotation inside a storm, …

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29 April 2014

Death Toll Mounting In Deep South

Below is what the radar image showed. The blue is wind toward the radar and the red is away from the radar. Virtually all of the tornadoes were inside the moderate risk area issued by the Storm Prediction Center. Severe weather forecasting has improved dramatically over the last 30 years.

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28 April 2014

Major Severe Weather Outbreak Underway In Plains/Southeast

A strong low pressure system is really winding up in the Plains this Sunday evening, and winds are gusting to 48 mph behind  dry line front through Oklahoma and Texas. Ahead of the dry line, a moist and extremely unstable airmass is in place, and storms have already developed. Keep in mind that tornadoes require both unstable air AND strong low-level wind shear, and there is plenty of both in …

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24 April 2014

Oh, The Things You Can See From On High

I spent a little while looking at today’s images from NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites with their amazing MODIS imager that sends back true colour images from an altitude of around 700 km. Here are a few things I spotted in just a short period of browsing this evening. Click any image for a much larger view. Here is a view of just some Sahara sand blowing north into Greece …

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21 April 2014

More About The Guy Who Almost Poisoned The Planet (As Seen on COSMOS Sunday Night)

If you saw COSMOS Sunday night, (20 April) then you might be fascinated by the story of Thomas Midgley who invented lead additives for gasoline, and formed the Ethyl Corporation. Neil deGrasse Tyson used the entire episode to tell the story Clair Patterson who discovered the age of the Earth. In doing so, he also discovered that the lead additives in the gasoline were burning slowly poisoning all plant and …

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18 April 2014

Suomi Satellite Night Vision Sees Great Lakes Ice

The CIMMS Satellite blog has posted a fantastic image of the ice cover on the Great Lakes. See my previous post for more info. This is a visible light (not IR) image made by the VIRRS sensor on Suomi is below: (click for full resolution)

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Great Lakes Ice Unprecedented? Hardly.

The headline above is on the Huffington Posts front page this evening, and it’s rather misleading. Yes, it’s been a rather cold winter around the Great Lakes and a cold spring has slowed the ice melt as well. It’s really not that big of a deal however, and the claim that this will affect the environment for years is more than dubious. The ice was worse in the cold winters …

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16 April 2014

Can’t Get Enough of Cosmos? Netflix Has 6 Hours of Neil deGrasse Tyson

I have mentioned the lectures you can buy from the Teaching Company before here, and one of those lecture sets is a six lecture series called The Inexplicable Universe, by Neil deGrasse Tyson. It’s worth the money IMHO, but before you buy it, Netflix has made available this entire series for its customers. That’s a pretty good deal. Now, this series does not have all the flash bang the COSMOS …

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15 April 2014

New Research Shows Asian Soot Cloud Affecting Pacific Storms

A group of researchers from Texas A & M University have a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) this week that is getting a lot of attention. Cloud droplets and rain drops need something to form on, and without dust and other aerosols in the atmosphere we would see a lot less of both. Sometimes though, the addition of particulates can cause tiny cloud droplets …

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11 April 2014

Bet You Did Not Know This

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