Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Thoughts On National Heatstroke Prevention Day

This year, for National Heatstroke Prevention Day, there is a lot of focus on children perishing in the back seats of cars. Based on my research, the root problem is that children are stuck in the back seat due to unnecessary passenger side airbags.

Three weeks ago, I wrote the above piece for this blog after a child heat death occurred outside of Wichita. I strongly recommend removing passenger side airbags. Details here.

Heads Up: Southeast Nebraska, Northeast Kansas and Western Missouri

An unusually heavy rain event is likely 
between today and noon Saturday. 
As much as eight inches, total, could occur in spots with flash flooding the result. The Kansas City metro area is especially at risk with the heaviest single rainfall event forecast for tonight. 

Moderate rains have already fallen in some areas. Here is the rainfall up to 7am this morning.
If you encounter flooding, remember: Turn around, don't drown.

"Zoom" Contact Lenses.

This is amazing. Contact lenses that zoom in and out. Story here.

114 Private Jets 'Needed' In Order to Talk About Global Warming

Yep. Details here.

Have these people -- allegedly concerned about humans putting CO2 into the atmosphere -- ever heard of Skype?

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Fake Temperatures

9:45pm Tuesday. "Fake Temperatures" post deleted. 

My thanks to Zeke Hausfather for pointing out an error in my comparison between the USCRN and the GISS data. For those of you who read the post before it was deleted, the correct information is here. 
My point that the USCRN should be the only U.S. climate network referenced going forward remains valid. 

That said, I apologize for my error. 

The Unusual Birth of "Candyland"

I played Candyland over and over with my children as they were growing up. It was created for children who were polio victims. Fascinating article for its 70th anniversary.

Have a Healthy Baby? Thank Virginia Apgar

A fascinating article about an unsung hero of science. An excerpt:

Doctors were missing signs that a baby was, for example, starved of oxygen, a factor in half of newborn deaths. Some doctors assumed that babies that were underweight or struggling to breathe should be left to die. “It was considered better not to be aggressive. You dried them, you shook them and some doctors patted them on the backside and that was it,” said Professor Alan Fleischman, professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. 
There was a dire need for a system that checked vital signs, such as heartbeat and breathing rate, from the minute a baby was born. That way, the appropriate special care could be put into place before it was too late. 
Virginia’s eureka moment occurred one morning while she was having breakfast in the hospital canteen. One of her medical students asked her how to evaluate newborn babies’ wellbeing. Virginia replied, “That’s easy. You would do it like this,” and jotted down the five vital signs to look for. Initially called the Newborn Screening System, it was the first version of what became the Apgar test. 
The medical student may have been surprised by the seemingly instantaneous production of a new scoring system, but Virginia’s thoughts were the result of her many years of painstaking observations and clinical knowledge.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Latest Rainfall Amounts

Last week's rainfall.
click to enlarge
And, here is the forecast rainfall for the rest of this week.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Sunday Fun: Wichita = #1 Unique Art City

Yes, Wichita. "Wichita isn't nearly as braggy as it could be about its incredible arts scene."
Last week, we took my son's sister-in-law and her sons, who were visiting for a concert, out for casual dining. We took them to:
To say they were pleasantly surprised about these dining options was putting it mildly. 

Come and see us before the kids go back to school!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Kansas: Land of Spectacular Sunsets

June 15 over eastern Kansas

Still Time For Late Summer Reading...

...while the great reviews keep rolling in.
Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather is an uplifting, non-technical read that will both inspire and inform.
It is the perfect book for that late summer vacation. 

Friday, July 26, 2019

And, Every One of Then Got to Their Destinations Safely

The busiest day in commercial airline history.

Does Your Child Have Difficulty Reading?

I have been working with the Irlen Clinic for the central United States which is in east Wichita. They do some very fine work with children who have difficulty reading and with arithmetic. There are no drugs associated with their treatment.

If you know a child with those issues, please click here for an overview.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

United and American Airlines' Chutzpah

Photo of United Airlines' check-in area at the Honolulu Airport
I love this story.

American and United are such crappy airlines that they cannot compete with foreign carriers. So, they try to grease the skids with President Trump directly to see if he will stop their foreign competitors. What happened next is delicious.

Hey American and United: FIX YOUR AIRLINES and you won't have to worry about the competition because customers will actually want to fly on them!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Climate Knuckleheads

Geez. I'm certain gluing oneself to a door will improve the global climate.

Addition: Another question, how is it these left-wing activists -- whether it is this, the Kavanaugh hearing, or whatever -- seem to always be able to get through the supposedly tight security at the Capitol? You or I would be arrested if we tried this.

Looking For a Great Keynote Speaker?

Hi everyone, I'm Mindy East, head of Baron Ridge Productions and I represent Mike Smith's speaking business.

If you are a planner working on a meeting, please give me a call. Mike is in demand literally from New York to San Diego and we will work to put together the perfect presentation for your meeting that will educate and inspire -- while, making you look good.

So, give me a call and let's talk. You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

"The Hour I First Didn't Believe"

Great story by a Democratic party-affiliated professor and how he came not to believe that global warming is a crisis. He's right.

A warmer climate, so far, has been a net benefit.

The Future of Both Travel and Space Exploration

...was discussed by the administrator of NASA and other heavyweights in Wichita yesterday. Details here. Also, here. You may be surprised by what they say.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Before the Global Warming Vultures Sweep In...

...regarding the tornado warning for Cape Cod this evening (radar at that time, below), with "We didn't
have tornado warnings in Massachusetts before climate change," keep in mind that one of the worst tornadoes in U.S. history occurred in Massachusetts.
New England Historical Society
It killed 94. And, six died in Vermont later that same day.

Bottom line: there is nothing unprecedented about a tornado warning in Massachusetts. 

Central Great Plains: Five Days of Pleasant Weather

Taken yesterday evening in the Kansas Flint Hills 
While many areas could use a good rain, the next five days should be dry with low humidity -- ideal summer weather.
The above graphic shows no rain or less than .05 inches throughout the central Great Plains through the end of the week.

"The Right Stuff"

If you have never read Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff, now -- with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 -- would be the perfect time to do it. There is one caveat based on what we have learned since the book was written: the author was too tough on the late Gus Grissom. The Kansas Cosmosphere raised Grissom's sunken capsule and they learned that Grissom's account of the hatch "just blowing" was true. Regardless, the book is terrific.

And, my all-time favorite compliment about my book, Warnings, was when it was favorably compared to The Right Stuff by critic Tom Fuller. So, read TRS and then read Warnings and you'll end your summer with two great books!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

How Meteorologists Saved Apollo 11

A fascinating story I was not aware of. From the Capital Weather Gang.

Tornado Risk Later Today

According to the NWS's Storm Prediction Center, there is a significant risk of tornadoes in Kansas late this afternoon (the brown area) and, more likely, early this evening. This includes Topeka, Manhattan, Salina, Abilene and Peabody.

Please keep an eye on the weather in these areas, especially after 2pm.

Sunday Fun: What Medicine Does a Thunderstorm With a Summer Cold Take?

Answer: Cumulonimbus Decongestus. [a meteorologist joke]

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Why Weather Forecasts Should Be Taken Seriously

This morning, more than 750,000 people in two states are without electricity as a result of last night's storms. It may be days before all of them have electricity again (keep in mind that one customer = 3.5 people).

Addition: Some of yesterday's damage.

Resume original posting:
On this blog and elsewhere yesterday, meteorologists were urging people to prepare.

While we cannot prevent the damage storms like this create, we can help people mitigate their effects. I believe you'll agree the above was good advice in view of the extensive damage created. 

Please take weather forecasts and corresponding recommendations seriously. 

Friday, July 19, 2019

Unfortunately, The Derecho Forecast Was Correct

Including the forecast of widespread power failures. About 72,000 customers are without power.
That is about 250,000 people. It will be quite a while before they all have power again.

Dangerous Weather Forecast For the Upper Midwest

Tornadoes and a derecho -- which is a long-lived, destructive windstorm -- are forecast for the Upper Midwest.

Tornado Risk
The significant threshold is the brown, 5%, area. The 15% is a high risk of tornadoes. The hatched area is where violent tornadoes are forecast to occur.

Damaging Thunderstorm Winds
On this map, the significant threshold is the yellow (15%). The peak probability is 45%, which is high risk of damaging winds of more than 60 mph. The hatched area is where thunderstorm winds gusts of more than 75mph are forecast to occur.

Recommended Actions
  • In this situation, the tornadoes and thunderstorms will move quickly. So, you will need to begin monitoring the weather and gathering children and friends/relatives who need assistance getting to shelter when a tornado or severe thunderstorm watch is issued. 
  • Power failures are likely and some could last an extended period of time. Charge your phone and computer throughout the day but take then off the charger before the storms arrive. 
  • Get some extra cash from the ATM and fill your fuel tank (especially if you have an EV).
  • Make sure your shelter area is ready for people. 
  • Remember to wear shoes into shelter. 

Think About FaceApp: Is This Really a Good Idea??

Hat Tip: Instapundit.
Read this cautionary tale from Marketwatch here. Especially given the ability to edit photos in a nearly seamless way, I think anyone who wants to have a future in public service or management would be crazy to use this app.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The National Weather Service To Further Complicate Flood Warnings In the Name of Simplification

I can hardly believe what I just read: the National Weather Service (NWS) is going to extend its awful 'impact-based' tornado warning concept to its flash flood warnings. There is so much wrong with this, I hardly know where to begin.

Before we go further, I am basing what I am writing about the new flash flood warnings on NBC News' and The Washington Post's coverage of this announcement.

"Impact-Based" (paraphrasing: 'you will die if not in shelter') tornado warnings (IBW) were/are designed to scare people into taking action (since their introduction, they've toned down the language just a bit). The motivation for IBW was the National Weather Service's failure to grasp what actually went wrong in the Joplin Tornado catastrophe. In the wake of the worst death toll in more than sixty years, the worst of the tornado warning era, the NWS issued a highly flawed report (and that characterization is giving them the benefit of the doubt) about the disaster which has misguided them ever since. What really went wrong in Joplin was the subject of my second book.

With IBW, the NWS went from one type of tornado warning to three.
  • 'Ordinary' tornado warnings 
  • Particularly dangerous tornado warnings
  • Tornado emergency (the 'you will die'-type)
The problem is that we did not, and still do not, have the scientific skill to do these with any consistent quality. Plus, in may opinion, all tornado warnings are emergencies and should be treated accordingly. By creating unreliable sub-types of tornado warnings, it is possible we are training people to, at their peril, ignore 'ordinary' tornado warnings. 

And, as some of us predicted, with the added complexity, NWS tornado warnings have become less accurate.

So, with the new flash flood warnings, a lot is going to change. We will have,
  • 'Ordinary' or 'base' flash flood warnings. 
  • 'Considerable' flash flooding.
  • 'Catastrophic' flash flooding. 
Keep in mind, these are on top of areal flood warnings, flood warnings, arroyo flood warnings, urban and small stream flood warnings, et cetera. 

As NBC News reported, 

The impact-based warnings will fall into three categories: base, considerable and catastrophic. The latter two, considerable and catastrophic, which warn of floodwaters that could severely impact lives and property, will be the approximately 20 percent of warnings that the NWS will push out to people’s phones.

Question #1: if the flooding isn't expected to affect property or lives, why is a flash flood warning being issued in the first place? This is the root problem: the NWS issues way too many flood warnings under too many classifications (no one knows what an 'areal' flood warning is). And, this problem is exaggerated by the fact there is little or no consistency in warning thresholds between NWS offices when it comes to tornado or flash flood warnings. For example, what prompts the Springfield NWS office to issue a tornado warning is quite different from what prompts the Wichita office. And, while there should be, there are no "best practices" or quality standards.  

So, to 'fix' the "overwarning" and confusion issues, the NWS's plan is that only the "considerable" and "catastrophic" flash flood warnings will be pushed out to our smartphones under the, often flawed, FCC's WEA ("wireless emergency alerts") system. This is doubling down on failure rather than fixing the root problem. 
Question #2: Given it has taken decades to educate the public on the difference between watches and warnings, how does the NWS possibly hope to immediately educate people on the difference between these new types of warnings? Time is of the essence given the life-threatening nature of flash floods.

The ultimate irony is that the NWS is doing this under the rubric of "warning simplification" and it will begin in less than 90 days. 

I'd love to be able to end this piece on some type of "up note" but I don't have one. The NWS is an organization with increasingly serious issues that seems to have lost its way. 

The Heatwave Will Break Soon

click to enlarge
I'm happy to report the heat wave of 2019 will break soon.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Bringing The Electric Grid into the 21st Century [Or Not]

The good news is that Saturday evening's power failure in NYC was relatively small. The bad news is that we are building windmills rather than upgrading and securing (from terrorism) the United States' electrical grid. In fact, renewables make the grid less reliable.

There is a good essay on the subject here. The bottom line: we need to get started.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

In Concordance With the Tweet Below...

Posted on Twitter a few minutes ago.
Notice how the tweet states that global warming will (no doubt expressed) make hot droughts worse. Yet, if you go to the actual Abstract of the paper, it states something very different.
Although the link between droughts and heat waves is widely recognized, how climate change affects this link remains uncertain. This seems hardly seems as certain as the tweet would indicate. The Abstract goes on to state:

Applying a statistical model that is based on pair-copula constructions, we find that anthropogenic warming leads to enhanced soil moisture–temperature coupling in water-limited areas of the southern Great Plains and/or southwestern United States and consequently amplifies the intensity of extreme heat waves during severe droughts. 

The above stated another way: during a drought, daily temperatures are raised due to baked soil (something every Great Plains farmer has known since day one) per another climate model study. The climate models have been shown to run warm and have shown no demonstrable skill in forecasting climate on a regional basis. Regardless, the hypothesis inferred from the Abstract is that warmer global temperatures tend to create worsening summer ("hot") droughts, especially in the Great Plains and Southwest. So, let's actually do some science. If there is a genuine link between global warming and summer ("hot") droughts, then droughts should worsen as world temperatures rise, especially in the Southwest and Great Plains. 

Here is the Palmer Drought Index (a widely accepted measure of drought) for July, 1934, 85 summers ago. You'll recall the Dust Bowl lasted through most of the 1930's. 

Here is a comparison of global temperatures in 1934 (arrow) versus 2019 (circle):
Obviously, world temperatures have warmed considerably in 85 years. So, if the hypothesis is correct, summer ("hot") droughts and associated temperatures should be worse or more widespread now than droughts of the era were when world temperatures were cooler. 

Here is the July 2019, current, Palmer Drought Index.
Not much resemblence to 1934, is there?

But, it is possible that this is a fluke. Let's look at 2018. 
Okay, that is a worse drought situation than 2019. Let's look further. 
One doesn't have to be a climate practitioner to read these maps and learn the much higher global temperatures of the late 2010's have not lead to droughts anywhere close to what was experienced in the 1930's Dust Bowl Era. That would refute the hypothesis, especially as expressed by NOAA's propagandistic tweet that indicates they are certain about future temperatures and droughts. 

Prince Charles: Another Global Warming 'Tipping Point'

The Biggest Bust in the History of Science??

Oh, good grief. Noted climatotologist, Prince Charles, tells us we only have 18 months to save the world. Yet another global warming "tipping point."

Six years ago, I wrote a piece for the blog called Tipsy From Tipping Points.
As that article documented, the global warming doomster tipping points go back to 1989. Yet, here we are:
  • Agricultural production sufficient for the world's population.
  • The lowest level of extreme poverty in the history of the world. 
  • Weather and climate deaths at the lowest level ever.
In the history of science, has there ever been a bigger bust than the forecasts of doom of the last 30 years??