As 2020 draws to a close, there are plenty of ways to look back on a year that none of us will forget anytime soon. It was not only a remarkable year on the weather and climate front, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is changing the lives of billions forever. This week’s post will have links to touch on those topics. Many substantial winter weather events have taken place across North America and Europe as winter dominates the Northern Hemisphere. We’ll explore more on winter weather safety with plenty of information for the next several weeks. There are many other good stories to cover, so lets get started.
- This is an excellent essay by Claire Lehmann of Quillette that is not only timely, but addresses many of the ‘front and center’ issues of 2020.
- What is your risk of catching COVID-19? Here’s an interesting read with some very useful tools to help you estimate your risk. However, the life-or-death caveat is the simple fact that the ‘3 W’s’ along with trusting medical science will be beneficial to all of us regardless of our personal risk.
- The conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter on 21 December 2020 was a rare astronomical event. What was captured in these stunning images had not been seen this clearly in almost 800 years.
- 2020 has had very little good news, but here’s a positive story on British wind farms. Let’s hope this kind of renewable energy spreads far and wide.
- Major natural disasters from tornadoes to tsunamis carry a myriad of health hazards. This is one that many people may not have heard of and has occurred in the wake of tsunamis, wildfires, and tornadoes.
- To say that 2020 has been an exceptionally stressful year is almost an understatement. Fortunately, there are coping techniques that people use in the aftermath of a natural disaster or other catastrophes that will help us all cope with our current state of mental and physical distress.
- There were many weather and climate events that either helped break records or took center stage in 2020. Here’s a look back at just a few climate related stories that have long term implications.
- Here’s a look back at photographs taken in the wake of a record breaking year for hurricanes in the United States. “2020 Gulf Coast Hurricane Season in Photos: From the Front Lines of Climate Change.“
- Climate change is happening at a rate that is much faster than was previously anticipated. “Earth may be even closer to 1.5°C of global warming than we thought.”
- Let’s end this week’s post with a read that considers some optimistic perspectives in an otherwise dour year. “6 reasons 2020 wasn’t as bad for climate change as you thought.“
WINTER WEATHER SAFETY AND DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
With cooler temperature, snow, ice storms, et al. having settled in across much of the northern hemisphere, folks attention appropriately turns to winter weather hazards. The same preparedness plans and supplies that are helpful for tropical cyclones, tornadoes, flooding, etc. are beneficial to have for winter weather. NOAA has a very nice Winter Weather Safety website to help you get ready with plenty of helpful tips and information you may need.
This NOAA winter weather page has a myriad of links beneficial to organizations such as public services, schools, organizations, etc.
NOAA also has an excellent printable publication that covers winter weather safety which is one of the most underrated weather hazards. (12 page PDF file)
The handy checklist below from the American Red Cross will help you put together an emergency kit for a variety of weather scenarios. A kit like this is very helpful in a variety of other difficult scenarios from wildfires to blizzards to tornadoes and hurricanes.
The hazards of wind chill should never be underestimated. A few simple steps of layering clothing can make a big difference. Even in full sun, wind chill can be a health hazard in temperatures as warm as 40F.
Misinformation and disinformation is running rampant across social media platforms of all kinds as of late. 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 often equipped with sources of important information that is specific to your locale. Here’s an excellent and concise video on spotting misinformation you might see online. Bottom line: use discretion very carefully and avoid hypesters, shills, and attention-seekers at all cost…and think before you click.
Social media is a very useful tool that can be misused for misinformation, disinformation, and hype. While this infographic is geared towards, winter weather, it certainly applies to all kinds of weather year round.
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! As for the COVID-19 pandemic, sport a spiffy mask as often as you can, practice good hand-washing hygiene, mind your social distancing, stay safe, and stay healthy! Happy Holidays everyone!
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