Stories tagged meteorology

Oct
14
2013

Typical Paleozoic fossils from Minnesota: This year's National Fossil Day theme is Paleozoic fossils. Minnesota Paleozoic rocks hold an abundance of such fossils dating from the Late Cambrian though the Late Ordovician Periods.
Typical Paleozoic fossils from Minnesota: This year's National Fossil Day theme is Paleozoic fossils. Minnesota Paleozoic rocks hold an abundance of such fossils dating from the Late Cambrian though the Late Ordovician Periods.Courtesy Mark Ryan
It's Earth Science Week and this year's celebration centers around maps and mapping and their importance in geology and other earth sciences. Then on Saturday, October 19th from 1-4pm, the Science Museum of Minnesota is celebrating National Fossil Day with some special fossil-related exhibits throughout the museum. This year's theme is Paleozoic life, which is exactly the types of fossils commonly found in the southern half of Minnesota. Unfortunately, the official National Fossil Day website is closed due to the US government shutdown that continues, but that shouldn't stop anyone from celebrating fossils. Join us Saturday for some fossil fun.

LINKS
OneGeology mapping webite
Minnesota Geological Survey maps
Fossil hunting in Lilydale (closed indefinitely due to a spring 2013 tragedy)
Collecting fossils in Minnesota

The official record of the record heat: The world record high temperature is highlighted in yellow. Let's hope this was an anomaly.
The official record of the record heat: The world record high temperature is highlighted in yellow. Let's hope this was an anomaly.Courtesy Death Valley National Park
Today is the 100th anniversary of the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth. On July 10, 1913, the U.S. Department of Agriculture weather observer's thermometer at Greenland Ranch in Death Valley, California topped out at a scorching 134 °F! That's pretty dang hot! The highest temp I ever experienced was 115 °F in Las Vegas back in 1978. That was really hot (despite the low humidity), and I can't imagine what 19 degrees hotter would feel like.

National Weather Service page

The massive tornado that tore through Moore, Oklahoma today is estimated to have been between 1 to 2 miles wide (!) and stayed on the ground for about 40 minutes. As of this writing it's been designated as an EF4 category storm, but that could change. The damage is hugely extensive and the total loss of life and property won't be determined for a several days to come as workers dig through the rubble and debris. The above time-lapse video shows how the twister started fairly small then quickly grew into a super-destructive force of nature with wind speeds estimated - so far - to have been upwards to 200 miles per hour. The same region around Oklahoma City was ravaged by an EF5 tornado back in May of 1999. A local meteorologist called today's tornado "the worst tornado in the history of the world." The devastation seen in the aftermath of today's monster tornado lends some credence to that statement but time will tell.

Go to Smithsonian.com to put this deadly storm in perspective.

Snow angel: Rice Park in downtown St. Paul has probably the most artistic snow gauge in the Twin Cities.
Snow angel: Rice Park in downtown St. Paul has probably the most artistic snow gauge in the Twin Cities.Courtesy Thor Carlson
Taking a break from the snow shoveling to check out Science Buzz? We sure got a lot of snow in the Twin Cities this weekend, especially when initial predictions were for three to five inches and we ended up with nearly a foot. How does that happen? Meteorology guru Paul Douglas explains it all right here in an very open discussion of why predicting snow fall amounts is so slippery.

How do you feel about our sudden surge into winter? Were you excited to get all this snow? Share your thoughts with other Science Buzz readers.

All this week is Earth Science Week, a time for celebrating the importance and relevance of the earth sciences. Above is a cool little video produced by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) that does just that. The website EarthSky.org (where I found this video) lists Nine Big Ideas to ponder and share during the week. Additional ways to celebrate can be found at the official Earth Science Week website. And don't forget, Wednesday, October 17 is National Fossil Day. Groups, museums, and other facilities around the country will be observing it on various days surrounding the official date. Here at the Science Museum of Minnesota we'll be celebrating both fossils and earth science on Saturday, October 20 from 1pm-4pm. Join us for activities around the museum where you can learn about Twin Cities fossils, fossil prep, fossil research, trilobites and more.

It's been a hot one!: an obvious downside of the United States having the warmest spring on record this year. Why is that guy still standing in line?
It's been a hot one!: an obvious downside of the United States having the warmest spring on record this year. Why is that guy still standing in line?Courtesy Debbi Long via Flickr
It took 102 years but the United States recorded the warmest spring on record, breaking the old record set in 1910. Here are some details from the EarthSky.org website:

Meteorological spring in the northern hemisphere is considered to be during the months of March, April, and May. During these three months, the average temperature across the United States was 57.1 degrees Fahrenheit, which was 5.2 degrees above the long term average. According to the latest information released by NOAA and the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), spring 2012 is officially the warmest spring ever recorded since records began in 1895. 2012 beat out the year 1910 by a remarkable 2.0 degrees in Fahrenheit in the United States. The period from January through May in the United States saw an average temperature of 49.2°, or 5 degrees above the average. Overall, the United States experienced the second warmest summer, fourth warmest winter, and the warmest spring on record.

May
21
2012

Early stage of eclipse: the greenish tint is caused by shooting through welder's glass #14.
Early stage of eclipse: the greenish tint is caused by shooting through welder's glass #14.Courtesy Mark Ryan
I'm happy to report that the clouds cleared out just in time this weekend to watch the Sun and Moon do their little dance together in the western sky. I went to eastern shore Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis to watch, as did a number of other people. The best views took place later on as the sun lowered near the horizon. I brought along a piece of welder's glass #14 which attracted several curious passersby who ask if they could use it to view the sun. Other people brought along their own homemade devices to view the event. Overall, it turned into a rather nice little eclipse party. Viewing the eclipse: Two spectators use a an old printer box with a pinhole punched in it to watch the event.
Viewing the eclipse: Two spectators use a an old printer box with a pinhole punched in it to watch the event.Courtesy Mark Ryan

The eclipsed sun
The eclipsed sunCourtesy Mark Ryan

Closer view of the eclipse
Closer view of the eclipseCourtesy Mark Ryan

Double view: Binoculars worked well in projecting the crescent sun's image onto a white surface.
Double view: Binoculars worked well in projecting the crescent sun's image onto a white surface.Courtesy Mark Ryan
Another eclipse enthusiast checks out the view
Another eclipse enthusiast checks out the viewCourtesy Mark Ryan
Another view
Another viewCourtesy Mark Ryan
Look at that!: A family stopped by to view the eclipse through welder's glass.
Look at that!: A family stopped by to view the eclipse through welder's glass.Courtesy Mark Ryan
Viewing the eclipse: A helmet isn't necessary to view a solar eclipse, but proper eye protection against the sun's rays in essential.
Viewing the eclipse: A helmet isn't necessary to view a solar eclipse, but proper eye protection against the sun's rays in essential.Courtesy Mark Ryan
Makeshift viewing device: This woman made an eclipse viewer by poking a pinhole in a paper bag.
Makeshift viewing device: This woman made an eclipse viewer by poking a pinhole in a paper bag.Courtesy Mark Ryan
Eclipsed setting sun
Eclipsed setting sunCourtesy Mark Ryan
Kayak and eclipse
Kayak and eclipseCourtesy Mark Ryan

This cool timelapse of Comet Lovejoy rising in the morning skies over Western Australia was created by Colin Legg. The comet's dust tail and secondary plasma tail can be seen rising out of the treetops in the lower right of the frame. You can see more of Legg's meteorological videos on his Vimeo link below.

SOURCES
Universe Today
More videos by Colin Legg

Minneapolis hosts 2011 GSA meeting: Six thousand geologists will descend upon Minnesota rocks this fall
Minneapolis hosts 2011 GSA meeting: Six thousand geologists will descend upon Minnesota rocks this fallCourtesy Mark Ryan
Next week the Geological Society of America is convening in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the GSA's 2011 Annual Meeting and Exposition. That means something like 6000 geologist, paleontologist, hydrologists, and other ologists from around the world will be in our area to share new ideas and hobnob with their fellow earth scientists. The four-day event, which is hosted by the Minnesota Geological Survey, runs from Sunday, October 9 through Wednesday, October 12 at the Minneapolis Convention Center, and will include special lectures, award ceremonies, poster sessions, an exhibit hall, and several hundred technical talks covering a full range of geology-related subjects. There will also be a silent auction, a photo exhibition, short courses (available to non-registrants), and a screening of the locally produced documentary, “Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story”. Field trips happening before, during, and after the official meeting dates will give visiting geologists an opportunity to take in some of the spectacular and diverse geology that Minnesota and the Upper Midwest has to offer, not to mention the fall colors. This year’s meeting is titled “Archean to Anthropocene: The Past is the Key to the Future”, and even if you can’t make it to Minneapolis, you can download a cool poster of the event here.

The GSA 2011 Annual Meeting and Exposition

This incredible video shows one of the two tornadoes that swept through Springfield, Massachusetts today sucking up water from the Connecticut River.