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9 November 2011

Tornado Hits Oklahoma Mesonet Stations

  This is the kind of thing that makes meteorologists go running through the room, and all the while jumping up and down. A tornado passed very close to the Tipton station on Monday afternoon. So close, that it knocked it out, but not before measuring and incredible pressure drop, and some amazing wind gusts. Here is what the Okla. Mesonet Facebook page has: “Here’s a plot of the 1-minute …

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11 October 2011

Dissapearing Ice At The Top of The World and The Roof of the World

The news that the Arctic sea ice approached very near the 2007 record is about a month old now, but the NSIDC has a rather amazing graph showing the trend since 1978. This is just one aspect of the ice and perhaps not the most important. The old ice in the Arctic has nearly disappeared in many areas now. Take a look at this video from NOAA and made by …

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18 August 2011

Waterspout Today In North Carolina

Waterspouts are not tornadoes but have caused damage and injuries in the past. They develop when horizontal rotations from wind shear (and rising and falling air parcels) get twisted into the vertical.

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8 August 2011

Amazing Lightning Video From The Air

Mark Spencer (one of my fellow board members at Sc-Quest science museum) was flying back from Jackson, MS on August 3rd when he captured this amazing video. The flash rate in this storm is incredible, and  it’s likely a severe storm.  These cells produced 70 mph winds across North Alabama later on that produced extensive damage and power outages. The video was taken with night vision cameras and it’s good …

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12 February 2011

Solar Dynamic Observatory Launch Leads to Atmospheric Optics Discovery!

One year ago today, the Solar Dynamics Observatory lifted off from Cape Canaveral. It was a beautiful day with some high cirrus clouds in the sky producing a commonly seen phenomenon called a sundog. They are caused by sunlight refracting off of hexagonal ice crystals that make up the cirrus clouds, and this one in particular was quite colorful. Hang on, here come the wild parts: First the shock waves …

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9 February 2011

Two weeks at The Top of The World

I was asked by the great folks at Earth Gauge (the National Environmental Education Foundation) to write about my trip to Greenland last summer, and it was published in their newsletter this week. I thought I’d share it here along with the pics. You can also see it on Earth Gauge here: http://www.earthgauge.net/2011/two-weeks-at-the-top-of-the-world-a-trip-to-the-greenland-ice-cap (Part 1 of 2) Within just a few months last year, I found myself standing both at …

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19 January 2011

Is The Sun White or Yellow?

Ask a meteorologist “why is the sky blue?” and they will (at least they should) quickly give you the proper answer. The basics are this: shorter wavelengths of blue light are scattered by the air molecules much more than longer wavelengths of red light. The blue light gets scattered across the sky and makes the sky look blue. The technical term is Rayleigh scattering.

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17 January 2011

Shackleton’s Scotch Heads Home

When I visited Antarctica last January, the talk was all about the discovery of the Scotch that was found buried under Shackleton’s hut at Cape Royds. Five cases in all were found frozen in the ice beneath the hut. The dry cold of Antarctica preserves everything in a state of suspended animation. Jeep tracks in the dry valleys from 60 years ago are still visible. A carved cross by Robert …

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15 January 2011

More Frost Flowers!

Some more amazing pictures of frost flowers in the email this past week. Thanks to Joni Atkins for these incredible shots. The science behind them is discussed in my previous post. Water is such an incredibly weird substance! Thanks Joni!

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13 January 2011

Deep South Snow from Aqua Satellite

NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites with their MODIS sensor have produced some incredible images of Earth. I spent some time looking at the images today, and found a gorgeous view of the snow cover from Memphis to Atlanta. I put a few landmarks on it but the fun is to find cities like Memphis and Chattanooga. Can you spot Birmingham, AL? How about the jet contrail over Kentucky? Hint: Use …

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