Friday, May 15, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
(CNN) -- It sounds like something from the movie "Twister" -- teams of scientists in vans, armed with high-tech measuring equipment, barreling across the Oklahoma plains in search of tornadoes. But these scientists are colleagues, not rivals, and these storms aren't Hollywood digital wizardry but the real thing.
Welcome to VORTEX2, or V2 for short, the largest and most ambitious field experiment ever devoted to studying tornadoes. Now under way through June 13 in Oklahoma and surrounding states, the project brings together almost 100 scientists and students from 16 universities and research institutes.
VORTEX2 kicked off Sunday, and its teams didn't have to wait long to find the targets of their research. Violent storms tore through four Midwestern states Wednesday, killing three people in northern Missouri, according to Kansas City affiliate KMBC. The storms damaged dozens of homes and left thousands without power.
(To learn more about VORTEX2 and the current round of chasing going on over the Plains click here. BTW, they are trying to keep their exact location a secret, to avoid weather paparazzi and and traffic jams, literally in the middle of nowhere. On a big chase day hundreds, perhaps THOUSANDS of amatuer chasers converge on the Plains, hoping to see a tornado, trying desparately to get the "money shot" of a tornado touching down. I'm convinced that the biggest sport in Oklahoma, second only to Sooner college football, is tornado chasing!)
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
This time of year, many Americans are concerned with sunburns. In some areas, they should pay more attention to smog.
The reason? Though it's often invisible, air pollution is a threat to 186 million Americans, according to a new report released by the American Lung Association.The annual report--State of the Air 2009--found that six in 10 Americans live in counties where ozone or particle pollution has reached dangerous levels. Both types of pollution can be deadly and have been linked to worsening respiratory conditions like asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, and there is evidence that particle pollution increases risk of heart attacks and strokes.
How does your city rank, for particulant pollution and ozone? All the details in Forbe's in-depth article can be found here.
Public health officials call on their own to tackle issue
WEDNESDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- The warming of planet Earth is "the biggest global health threat of the 21st century," a varied group of experts warned Wednesday.
Their report is one of the latest to expound on the deepening environmental crisis, and one of the first to focus on the potential role of health-care professionals in ameliorating the problem.
"This is a bad diagnosis not just for children in different lands. It's for our children and grandchildren," Anthony Costello, a professor of international child health and director of the Institute for Global Health at University College London, said during a Wednesday teleconference. "Even the most conservative estimates are profoundly disturbing and demand action. Climate change raises an important issue of intergenerational justice, that we are setting up a world for our children and grandchildren that may be extremely frightening and turbulent."The complete article at Forbes.com is here.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LA CROSSE HAS ISSUED A
* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
EASTERN WABASHA COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA...
BUFFALO COUNTY IN WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN...
* UNTIL 545 PM CDT
* AT 505 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL...AND
DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR
KELLOGG...OR NEAR ALMA...MOVING EAST AT 50 MPH.
Associated Press WriterSPOKANE, Wash. —
Climate change appears to be cutting the winter snowpack in Washington's Cascade Range by at least 20 percent, according to a researcher at the University of Washington. Rising temperatures mean more of the snow falls with a high water content, and melts and washes away long before it is needed by users in spring and summer months, the research found.
"All things being equal, if you make it one degree Celsius warmer, then 20 percent of the snowpack goes away for the central Puget Sound basin, the area we looked at," said Joseph Casola, a UW doctoral student in atmospheric sciences.
His research looked at records from the annual April 1 measurement of the winter snowpack, and then used different methods to try and estimate how water content might have changed as a result of climate change. Average temperatures in Washington rose about 1.5 degrees during the past century, according to the UW's Climate Impacts Group. That meant more winter precipitation fell as rain or melted more quickly. Ideally, snow that falls in the winter melts slowly in the spring and summer months, filling reservoirs in the Cascades. The water is released gradually to supply drinking water, water for fisheries and hydropower and irrigation water for farms.
The complete AP report is here.
ScienceDaily (May 13, 2009) — Some Michigan mammal species are rapidly expanding their ranges northward, apparently in response to climate change, a new study shows. In the process, these historically southern species are replacing their northern counterparts.
The finding, by researchers at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Ohio's Miami University, appears in the June issue of the journal Global Change Biology.
"When you read about changes in flora and fauna related to climatic warming, most of what you read is either predictive—they're talking about things that are going to happen in the future—or it's restricted to single species living in extreme or remote environments, like polar bears in the Arctic," said lead author Philip Myers, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at U-M. "But this study documents things that are happening right now, here at home."
The complete article in ScienceDaily is here.