The past week has been a busy and historic one for the USA. Record breaking wildfires have ravaged many areas of the western USA with millions of acres torched. Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana as a high-end Category 4 storm. From its humble beginnings as a cluster of thunderstorms moving off the coast of western Africa, what would become Laura traveled thousands of miles across the Atlantic, entered the Caribbean region, crossed Puerto Rico and Cuba, then emerged into the Gulf of Mexico where it underwent explosive intensification in less than twenty-four hours. Recovery from these wildfires and Hurricane Laura will take years. We’ve still several weeks left in the Atlantic hurricane season, so I have included information on hurricane and disaster preparedness. There are several other good stories to cover this week, so lets get started.
- The road to being a good scientist, regardless of the field of specialty, is a long one. While one should never consider their education complete, there are certain characteristics that make one stand out. Here’s an excellent essay on four lessons that every good scientist must learn.
- Black holes are one of most enigmatic topics in astronomy. This recent news just raised the bar on changing the way we view our universe. “‘It’s mindboggling!’: astronomers detect most powerful black-hole collision yet.”
- Summer heat and air quality can have deleterious effects on ones health. Add to that more extreme variations due to climate change and we have a serious public health problem on our hands.
- There’s no doubt that California wildfires are getting worse. As our climate warms and droughts and heat in the western states become more commonplace, the daunting challenges posed by intense wildfires increases exponentially.
- “Sea level rise from ice sheets track worst-case climate change scenario.” Melting rates in Greenland & Antarctica are matching the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s worst-case climate warming scenarios.
- While on the topic of sea ice melt, here’s another scenario with links to the warming of our climate. “Winter ice in the Bering Sea is doomed to disappear within decades.“
- Ice melt is also occurring elsewhere. The stability of the lakes that are filling up with the water from the melting ice is in question.
- Lightning presents a significant threat to people and structures year round. In tropical regions, it’s responsible for the deaths of millions of trees annually.
- Here’s a sobering listen on the beginning of the recovery effort in the wake of Hurricane Laura. The daunting task ahead for people in the wake of this powerful storm is made worse by a pandemic that is raging out of control.
- “‘Hurricane amnesia’: Why we might forget the lessons from Hurricane Laura.” During the quiet stretches between tropical cyclones, the fear of a hurricane will often dissipate.
HURRICANE AND DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
The Atlantic and central Pacific have become quite active with several tropical cyclones this year. In the central and eastern Pacific, several named storms have taken place. The Atlantic has been unusually active with, as of August 28th, thirteen named storms having taken place so far in 2020 with several more weeks in the hurricane season left to go. NOAA has a great website to help you get ready with plenty of helpful tips and infographics to help you get the supplies you may need.
This handy checklist from the American Red Cross will help you put together an emergency kit for a variety of weather scenarios. For folks living in regions prone to hurricanes, it’s not too late to assemble your kits for home and your place of work.
I would be remiss to not remind folks to stick with trusted and reliable sources for your weather information. A NOAA weather radio is essential and should be as common in homes and workplaces as smoke detectors…regardless of where you live in the USA and its territories. Of course, broadcast meteorologists of your choice are always an excellent source with potentially life-saving information that is specific to your local situation. Bottom line: use discretion very carefully and avoid hypesters, shills, and attention-seekers at all cost…and think before you click.
That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to extend a warm welcome to my new followers in social media. I’m glad you’re along for the fun! If you’re on Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr, let’s connect! Once again I’d like to thank so many of you for all the thoughtful comments I’ve received as of late regarding my prostate cancer treatment. I’m doing well and am further bolstered by your words of encouragement and support. If you’re a male over the age of 40, you should discuss getting your PSA tested with your doctor. The Prostate Cancer Foundation is an excellent website with further information. September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Make sure you educate yourself as much as possible about this disease. You may save your life or the life of a loved one. As for COVID-19, please stay home if possible, practice good personal hygiene, mind your social distancing, sport a spiffy mask, stay safe, and stay healthy!
Cheers…Stay Healthy…and Good Luck!
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