…and Thou Hast Returned

6 11 2009

Hey readers. Sorry for the absence, I’ve had a hectic life the last month but I’m back. Wow, it’s been since the beginning of the last week of September since I’ve posted anything. Well, I apologize for that. There has been so much in the news lately in regards to climate change and immediate impacts such as Mt. Kilaminjaro – there’s been a lot of news regarding the events taking place there. There are so many other stories that I’d never be able to post them all in this post so you can look forward in the coming days for plenty of fresh material – great material – to be posted. I eagerly await your feedback, comments and the like.

~Derrick (aka, Skywarn256)


Accumulated Rainfall – Tennessee Valley Flooding

22 09 2009

I’ve gathered some stats for your guys regarding the accumulated rainfall and flash flooding occuring all around the Tennessee Valley area including northwest GA. Be reminded that these are radar estimates and could be a little off but for the most part, it’s accurate. It is a storm total rainfall for rain which fell over the course of the last 7 days.

Accumulated Rainfall Rates

Walk to 350 – Huntsville, AL

28 08 2009

Walk to 350

I am trying to organize a group to attend a walk in correlation with many around the world as we strive to reduce CO2 levels back down to 350. Thousands of people around the world are joining in the cause and I’m trying to help bring it home – bringing it here to Huntsville, AL. Consisting of a short walk around downtown and Big Spring Park and leading into food, drinks and entertainment as well as a visit to the museum of art, I want this to be a success! The tentative time is at 3pm on October 24th (the global ‘350’ day). I am looking for attendees or supporters – maybe a vendor or two or whatever you can help with. Email me if you’re interested in participating or helping!


Twitter – The New Age Storm Analysis Service

11 08 2009

Twitter. If it’s not the biggest thing next to duct tape. Seems like everyone nowadays is getting on the bandwagon from educational institutions to science researchers sharing knowledge. As for the genre I’ve always been most interested in, storm chasing & spotting, I believe Twitter has some “untapped potential”. I’ve experienced some use in the site – mixing ever so slightly with local meteorologists and scientists at the NSSTC in Huntsville, AL. Most people use the service as just a way to keep track of their friends and relatives but I see a more professional use for it. I just keep thinking, “what if?”

Storm spotters have been using radios and phone calls for so long now (not that it’s ineffective…it’s quite effective) but some of us are trailing off into a more digital presence. With the advent of portable (and small) computer systems and email services (such as that found in the iPhone, Blackberry and other PDA devices – services such as Twitter can expotentially become a great asset in field storm analysis.

So what makes Twitter great? First off, it permits instant transaction of message data into an online database which can be read by anyone with access to the internet. This includes meteorologists, news media (for damage and the like), emergency management officials, national weather service and NOAA, FEMA, storm observers and spotters as well as chasers in the field. If a tornado strikes a given location, EMA can see the message instantly without it having to be relayed. This means precious minutes or even seconds would be shaved off of the response time. Also, storm observers and chasers in the area would get a heads up on whats going on – meteorologists have an opportunity to pinpoint an exact location of the most dangerous part of the storm. NWS and NOAA, on the other hand, obtains the most valuable information – the information that often depicts whether or not a warning is issued.

Estimated Average Delay in Data Distribution using Twitter

Yes, all of this data can be used and transmitted via amateur radio or by the phone – but what’s faster? Amateur radio most might say – but 4/5 spotters don’t use it. Isn’t the spotter one of the greatest assets to warning coordinators? Other than amateur radio, digital transmission of data seems to be the best answer – Twitter has all of the aforementioned qualities plus the ability to create custom hash categories with each report such as what I and others have been using, #stormywx. Is there no expandability to it? I think so. Each storm cell is given a unique ID – “#stormywx #stormid 1.25” hail and 67mph wind @ so and so location”. The given example would be instantly sent to anyone watching the feed on Twitter. If more information was needed, a warning coordinator or whoever else needed the information critically could respond, “@originalposter #stormid Is there a funnel cloud near you? Approx. 1.5nm NE of your location.”

Estimated Average Delay in Data Distribution using Ares or Telephone

Overall, I believe a full-fledged acceptance as a great form of communication for storm analysis would be an enormous asset to all areas of severe weather response.

Please let me know what you think of this article. You may follow my tweets @skywarn256 or contact me via email at dwales@hunspot.org.

Debunking 2012 Doomsday

10 08 2009

2012 – that’s probably the most famous date in history of conspiracies and doomsday dates. We’ve got sources all over predicting cataclysmic events including the “ending” of the Mayan calendar, the predictions of “prophets” such as Nostradomus and Hopi, the chinese and the I Ching as well as others. Oh, let’s not forget the abominable Planet X, Nibiru. Seriously? Thats a lot of evidence. Even Hollywood has become fortune tellers: Armageddon? Knowing? Doomsday? The Day the Earth Stood Still? They’ve gotta be telling the truth, I mean, it’s Hollywood.

Climate change – ugh, we can’t forget Climate Change. Global warming is a warning to us all. Not really a warning – more like a heads up…”enjoy it while you can” I guess. So, with all this evidence, I believe it should be posted scientifically. If it’s not analyzed thoroughly, then it’s not scientific. If it’s not scientific, then it’s just a belief (and we know where unfactuated beliefs get us).

The Mayan Calendar
First off, the Mayans did not come up with that calendar – they adopted it from their ancestors of the region as did the other like cultures of their time. Secondly, the Mayan calendar was one of the most “off” calendars in history. It wasn’t even as accurate as the Julius calendar (and that’s saying something). The Mayan months were 20 days long (sometimes called 20 day weeks) and a “solar” year consisted of 18 of them. Yes, solar is in quotations. It’s not really a solar year – their calendar days were integers. As we know, nothing on earth ticks in exact integers for the same reason there is never a perfect circle no where in existance. So, for this, a year to them was 365 days (seems right….right?). The day, in fact, is not 365 days (and if you know what a leap year is, you’ll know why it’s not 365. It’s more like 365.25 (approx). So in other words, with their days as long as they are, doomsday has already passed. But, lets say that their calendar WAS accurate and their calendar “ends” in 2012 – what “ends” is not their calendar. The Mayan calendar DOES NOT END IN 2012. Only a cycle of the calendar, the 13th cycle to be exact, ends. What happens when it does? Destruction? Calamity? 2013? Yep, 2013 will come around just like 2012 did, just like 2009 did and so on. Not quite proving it? The 14th Mayan cycle starts as soon as the 13th ends on December 21st, 2012.

What a name. Perhaps one of the most famous “prophets” of all time (except for maybe Matthew, Mark, Luke and John…and eh, we’ll throw Muhammed in there too). Nostradamus 1) was a severe drug addict, 2) practiced visioning with “demons” and admitting himself and in his writings that we was surely going to hell for what he was doing, 3) wrote so damned funny that anything he said could be interpreted to mean anything and lastly, 4) predicting events that take place AFTER 2012. Now why the hell would he predict things that happen TO MANKIND if he predicted the world would end in 2012? I’ll let you talk to yourself about that one…..

It was a movie. It was Hollywood and special effects. First off, if our Sun was going to explode or erupt with this gigantic solar flare, we would be seeing the same event in stars which are approximately the same size as our sun and around the same age. We don’t. And there are thousands of them. The chances? Do the math. 5 Billion Years, Thousands of Sun-like stars, 0 events like that in Knowing.

Pole Shift
So you think the poles are all of a sudden going to flip or shift or whatever? Get over yourself, this isn’t science fiction. Do you realize how much energy it would take to shift our poles? If a source of that much energy was upon us 1) we would already know and 2) we’d be gone long before the poles shifted. We’re talking enough energy to permanently warp our magnetosphere. That’s like having enough energy to shove the Earth into Mars. Anything with that much force would kill us all LONG before our poles moved. Yes, the poles move naturally – but slowly. It may take thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years for our poles to move, but they do move, only slowly.

And finally, we come to Nibiru, the tenth planet coined, Planet X. First off, Nibiru isn’t the tenth planet. Nibiru isn’t a star. Nibiru…..doesn’t exist. If anything were close enough to be able to collide with earth in 3 years (as Nibiru is supposably forecasted to do) and is massive enough to completely wipe the planet clean of life, then we would most definately know about it by now. Think the government is covering it up? Well, there’s one aspect of life the government CANT cover up and that’s astronomy. Some of the best astronomers in the world with some of the best equipment in the world are amateur astronomers, people like you and me sitting at home looking through a telescope. If there was something out there, with over a million amateur astronomers out there all over the world, we’d already know about it.

Climate Change
Climate change. Yeah, it’s bad. Most likely, it’ll kill 30% or so of all species on earth. Nothing will be the same. Humans will survive it though. As will the planet. Period.

List of Colleges/Universities Offering AtmoScience Degrees

9 04 2009

I know there are many people who are very interested in weather. There are a lot of people that would not jump but absolutely LEAP at an opportunity to have a job making money with the weather. What’s holding you back??? College IS technically expensive, but nowadays, you can get in with NO money up front. A lot of people qualify for grants, scholarships and student loans, all of which you either never have to pay back or won’t have to pay until after you’re done with college (when you’re a meteorologist and can afford to pay back the loans). It’s not exactly rocket science (although close). Posted below is a MASSIVE list of all colleges in the US which offers AtmoScience, or Atmospheric Science, Degrees. The page also lists the point of contact if you’re interested, an email and more.

National Weather Association List of Collegiate AtmoScience Opportunities