24 May 2010

Green Skies and Hail

Green Skies and HailShare
I do not like green skies and hail.
They leave me feeling cold and pale.

In autumn gentle rains befriend us,
But spring brings lines of cumulonimbus.

The siren sounds to go to shelter.
There follow scenes from Helter-Skelter.

They love it at NSSL.
It's my idea of living hell.

Vacation days are meant for May.
Your *empty* house then blows away.

If safe in May you want to be
You must not go near OKC!

(My boundless apologies to Theodor Geisel.)
Chuck Oates
17 May 2010
Norman, Oklahoma, USA

12 May 2010

Tornadoes Dance North and South of Norman, Oklahoma, 10 May 2010

Chuck Oates
10 May 2010, Last rev.8:34 p.m.
Norman, Oklahoma, USA

Tornadoes Dance North and South of Norman, Oklahoma, 10 May 2010, 5:30 - 5:45 p.m.

They're still blowing tornado warning sirens intermittently as I write this, but it appears the tornado danger may have passed here in Norman. Parts of Oklahoma City, Choctaw, Moore, Noble Little Axe,and the Lake Thunderbird Marina, were not so fortunate.

The following videos were shot from my back yard at the times indicated on 10 May 2010.

Looking Southeast toward Noble, OK
5:32:50 p.m. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GybbPhJirHQ
5:33 p.m. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5uB8ddIH78
5:34 p.m. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6q9P3T4hkNA
5:39 p.m. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ir9ofqjqrk
5:39.5p.m. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZyLSymRLXQ
5:40 p.m. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YtpE3W3aEE
5:43 p.m. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77bcOg_Y8IM

Looking North toward Moore, OK
5:30 p.m. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYTjZ7wGtQg
5:32 p.m. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNPIwZFVV9s

So far the Norman HealthPlex in Northwest Norman has treated 20 patients injured in the storms. There is a report on News9.com of one fatality in Oklahoma City. [8:34 p.m.] News9.com is now reporting an additional three fatalities in Tecumseh, Oklahoma, east southeast of Norman.

*** C A U T I O N ***

Making photographs and videos when severe weather is in your area is DANGEROUS. Tornadoes at distances greater than five miles (8 km), in daylight, with good visibility, with a weather radio or TV in hand are one thing; tornadoes at distances less than five miles, OR at night, OR in poor visibility, OR without a working weather radio or TV are quite another. Particularly if you're young, DON'T TAKE CHANCES WITH THESE STORMS. THEY CAN AND DO KILL PEOPLE!

Prof. Oates

03 May 2010

Nil, Baby, Nil

Chuck Oates
3 May 2010
Norman, OK, USA
(from a Facebook wall posting)

Support for Offshore Drilling after the Louisiana Spill:

Nil, Baby, Nil

The Nashville Tennessean, a real tree hugger's rag, notes that support for offshore drilling is disappearing like government-haters after the OKC Murrah Building bombing [my words, not theirs]. See http://www.tennessean.com/article/20100501/NEWS08/5010349 .

Instead of drilling offshore, we could, of course, decide instead to capture large amounts of energy from the sun and the wind. Since our only net energy income is from the sun, these methods make very good sense, both economically and ecologically, not to mention the national security implications. (Presumably, OPEC can't turn off the sun!) The wind turbine and thin-film solar panel technologies are ready, but only minimally deployed, at least in the U.S.

If we can build an atomic bomb in four years and go to the Moon in ten, we could get ourselves out of the fossil fuel dependency mess in a decade or so, if we choose to, while generating large numbers of U.S. equipment manufacturing jobs. It's a matter of deploying existing energy technologies and, of course, continuing to develop new ones. Given our squabbling Congress, our still-out-of-control financial system, our behemoth oil lobby, and our vision-less corporate leadership, though, don't hold your breath.

Here's one guy who's thinking, even if he did go to OSU: http://www.pickensplan.com/ .
(Use the Hide ... button to bypass the signup page, if you like.)

Thin-film solar panels are cheap, efficient, and in production NOW: http://www.firstsolar.com/en/modules.php
We need terawatts of production for solar energy farms, though, not gigawatts.

The mid-continent U.S. is the Saudi Arabia of wind ( http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/wind_maps.asp ), and there's certainly no shortage of sun in Arizona and Nevada (http://www.nrel.gov/gis/solar.html ). Demand for oil is going up, and the supply is soon to decline (2023 by the 18-model average at http://www.trendlines.ca/scenarios.htm ). What are we waiting for?

Infrastructure to carry the electrical energy from the production areas to the population areas and a financial system that's willing to finance it, that's what. And we'll be sitting here dependent on $250/barrel oil and $10/gallon gasoline in ten years (five?) if we don't get busy and build it.

-- Vox Clamantis in Deserto

P.S. And in the mean time, Boone Pickens, much as I hate to admit it, is exactly right: natural gas that we control and have in relative abundance is the interim fuel we'll need until we can get more direct-from-the-sun fuel sources in place. --CLO