” ‘It snuck up on us’: Scientists stunned by ‘city-killer’ asteroid that just missed Earth”
“Alan Duffy was confused. On Thursday, the astronomer’s phone was suddenly flooded with calls from reporters wanting to know about a large asteroid that had just whizzed past Earth, and he couldn’t figure out “why everyone was so alarmed.” “I thought everyone was getting worried about something we knew was coming,” Duffy, who is lead scientist at the Royal Institution of Australia, told The Washington Post. Forecasts had already predicted that a couple of asteroids would be passing relatively close to Earth this week. Then, he looked up the details of the hunk of space rock named Asteroid 2019 OK. “I was stunned,” he said. “This was a true shock.” This asteroid wasn’t one that scientists had been tracking, and it had seemingly appeared from “out of nowhere,” Michael Brown, a Melbourne-based observational astronomer, told The Washington Post. According to data from NASA, the craggy rock was large, an estimated 57 to 130 meters wide (187 to 427 feet), and moving fast along a path that brought it within about 73,000 kilometers (45,000 miles) of Earth. That’s less than one-fifth of the distance to the moon and what Duffy considers “uncomfortably close.”

“Europe’s killer heat waves are a new norm. The death rates shouldn’t be.”
“Claiming 70,000 lives, the scorcher of ’03 served as a harbinger. Were no lessons learned?”

“On the southern outskirts of Paris, a cemetery holds the bodies of the city’s unclaimed dead. Until recently, there lay a hundred whom some consider to be the first victims of global climate change. They were mostly elderly and poor, the forgotten people of the worst weather disaster in contemporary European history: the heat wave of August 2003, which killed nearly 15,000 in France alone and thousands more across the continent. Experts have predicted that a changing climate will bring more frequent, longer-lasting and more intense heat waves to Europe — a prediction that appears to be coming true rapidly. Less than a month after western Europe suffered a brutal heat wave, France, Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands again face suffocating temperatures, all in countries where few homes are air-conditioned. Highs of almost 109 in Paris and 98 in London on Thursday broke records in those cities. This is also the fifth successive summer of extreme heat in France. A significant risk of extreme heat becoming a regular part of summer is that it will make high numbers of heat-related deaths seem normal, too, rather than something that requires redoubled attention. Most of these deaths are preventable, even if the climate change contributing to them has no ready remedy. Since 2015, France has recorded between 500 and 3,500 excess deaths from extreme heat each summer; complacency about thousands of deaths ignores the warnings they send about climate. Even the obsolete methods used to calculate death rates pose a risk of minimizing the threat, and consequently the response to it.”

See more from Washington Post HERE:

8-14 Day Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA’s CPC, the 8 to 14 day temperature oulook suggests warmer than average temperatures across much of the Southern and Western US, while cooler than average temps will move in across the Upper Midwest to the Ohio Valley.

Central US Precipitation Since January 1st

Take a look at how much precipitation has fallen across the nation since January 1st. Note that much of our big surpluses are across the Central US, where some spots are nearly a foot above average! St. Louis, MO is currently sitting at their 2nd wettest start to any year on record with 36.01″ of precipitation since January 1st.


Pacific Outlook

According to NOAA’s NHC, Tropical Storm Erick has developed in the Eastern Pacfic and could potentially reach hurricane status by early next week. The extended forecast has this storm drifting west toward the Hawiian Islands by the end of next week/weekend ahead, but may lose some steam at that point. Meanwhile, there is another wave of energy east of Erick that has a high probability of tropical formation over the next 5 days and could become Flossie soon. Stay tuned.


Moon Phase for July 28th at Midnight
.8 Days Before New Moon


What’s in the Night Sky?

“This week presents the nominal peak of the Delta Aquariid meteor shower. That supposed peak comes during the predawn hours on or near July 28, 2019. Should you set your alarm and get up to watch the shower? Maybe. However, the Delta Aquariids are a long, rambling shower, stretching out out for weeks beyond their nominal peak. Because the peak itself isn’t very definite, the shower might be even better at the month’s end, around the time of new moon (August 1, 2019, at 3:12 UTC). With no moon at all in late July/early August 2019, this could be the best time to watch for these rather faint meteors. You may see as many as 10 to 15 meteors per hour in a dark sky. On the other hand, if you do get up early on July 27 or 28, you can see the waning crescent moon moving through Taurus. And you might catch some Delta Aquarids as well.”

See more from Earth Sky HERE:

Average Tornadoes By State in July
According to NOAA, the number of tornadoes in July is quite a bit less across much of the nation, especially across the southern US. However, folks across the Plains and Upper Midwest still see (on average) a fair amount of tornadoes. Note that Minnesota typically sees 11 tornadoes, which is the 2nd highest behind June when we average 15.
2019 Preliminary Tornado Count
Here’s the 2019 preliminary tornado count across the nation, which shows nearly 1,300 tornadoes since the beginning of the year. May was a very active month and produced several hundred tornadoes across the Central uS and across parts of the Ohio Valley.

2019 Preliminary Tornado Count

Here’s a look at how many tornadoes there have been across the country so far this year. The preliminary count through July 25th suggests that there have been a total of 1,342 which is above the 2005-2015 short term average of 1091. Interestingly, this has been the busiest tornado season since 2011, when nearly 1,664 tornadoes were reported.
Sunday Weather Outlook
Here’s a look at high temps across the nation on Sunday, which still shows warmer temps bubbling up along the East Coast once again, where temps will flirt with 90F. Temps in the Southwest will still be quite hot as well where Excessive Heat headlines have been issued through Sunday.

National Weather Outlook
Weather conditions on Sunday will be fairly unsettled across the Upper Midwest with widespread showers and storms, some of which could be a little on the strong side. It also looks like monsoon storms will continue off and on in the Southwest.

Heavy Ranifall Potential
According to NOAA’s WPC, areas of heavy rain will be possible across parts of Florida and in the Upper Midwest/Great Lakes. In these areas, several inches of rain can’t be ruled out over the next 5 to 7 days. Meanwhile, much of the West Coast and the Central/Southern Plains will remain dry.
“Climate Change Is Killing US Soldiers”
“Rising temperatures due to climate change are melting ice caps, raising sea levels, and increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. They’re also killing US soldiers. At least 17 soldiers died from heat-related illnesses in the decade between 2008 and 2018, a joint investigation between Inside Climate News and NBC News found. An increase in “black flag” days—days when temperatures pose a high risk of heat casualties—has brought about a rise in non-fatal heat-related illnesses as well, according to the report, published earlier this week. The number of cases of heat stroke or heat exhaustion among active-duty service members grew from 1,766 in 2008 to 2,792 in 2018, despite a smaller active-duty force, according to military data cited in the investigation.”

See more from Mother Jones HERE:

________________________________________________________________“Tracking Smoke From Fires to Improve Air Quality Forecasting”

“NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory took to the skies on Monday to kick off a two-month investigation into the life cycles of smoke from fires in the United States. The goal is to better understand smoke impact on weather and climate and provide information that will lead to improved air quality forecasting. A joint campaign led by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments and Air Quality (FIREX-AQ) is targeting broad questions about the chemical and physical properties of fire smoke, how it is measured and how it changes from the moment of combustion to its final fate hundreds or thousands of miles downwind. All of these have implications for public health. “Ultimately, our goal is to better understand complex smoke-atmosphere interactions to improve the models for air quality forecasts, leading to increased accuracy and earlier notification, which are critical for communities downwind of fires,” said FIREX-AQ co-investigator Barry Lefer, tropospheric composition program manager at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “That common purpose is what brought our agencies together several years ago when we started planning for this major effort.” “We’ve pulled together an outstanding team of scientists who will be using the most sophisticated suite of instruments and models ever assembled to examine the nature of fires and smoke,” said David Fahey, director of NOAA’s Chemical Sciences Division. “Our long partnership with NASA has taken us literally around the planet and produced too many major scientific discoveries to count. I expect this will be no different.”

See more from NASA HERE:

______________________________________________________________________“Melting Ice, Warming Ocean: Take Control in a New Simulation”

“Warm the Antarctic, and southern Florida drowns. And as West Antarctica melts, its famous peninsula becomes an island. These calamities are, for now, safely contained in a web-based simulation just released to the public. You can take charge of the controls – ice melt caused by a warming ocean, snowfall, temperature, friction – and get a feel for how a warming world could diminish the frozen continent and raise sea levels over the coming century. But the newest simulation from scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory isn’t just an entertaining toy. It’s fed by real data from the powerful Ice Sheet System Model, or ISSM – the same computer model scientists use to try to predict how quickly polar ice will melt, as well as where, and when, rising seas will inundate shorelines. The sliding control features of the simulation – more or less ice melt, higher or lower snowfall – track some of the same changes researchers must grapple with as they try to project real-world effects into the future. It’s meant, in part, to give all of us a more detailed picture not only of the possible changes to come, but of just where the uncertainties lie. “There are pretty large uncertainties in specific, key parameters needed to even run an ice sheet model,” said JPL Earth scientist Nicole-Jeanne Schlegel, lead author of a recent paper that tries to better define these areas of uncertainty. At the same time, the paper attempts to show both the worst-case scenarios and less extreme but more likely outcomes – which still would have profound effects on Antarctica and distant shorelines.”

See more from NASA HERE:


“Could Wooden Buidlings be a Solution to Climate Change?”
“I’m standing in a seemingly ordinary construction site of an unremarkable office block in east London. The seven-storey building is about two-thirds complete – the basic structure and staircases are in place, with plastering and wiring just beginning. But as I walk around, something different slowly reveals itself. The construction site is quiet and clean – it even smells good. And there’s an awful lot of wood. Building sites typically feature wood as the mould to pour the concrete into. But here, the wood is the concrete. “Because a timber building weighs 20% of a concrete building, the gravitational load is vastly reduced,” enthuses Andrew Waugh, the architect, who shows me around. “That means we need minimal foundations, we don’t need massive amounts of concrete in the ground. We have a timber core, timber walls and timber floor slabs – so we reduce the amount of steel down to a bare minimum.” Steel is typically used to form the main internal supports or to reinforce concrete in most large modern buildings. In this wooden building, however, there are relatively few steel sections. Those that remain are bolted together like a Meccano set, to be easily taken apart at the end of (or during) the building’s life. “If you wanted to put a staircase right here,” says Waugh, pointing to the ceiling, “you unscrew that [steel] beam there, get a chainsaw and cut a hole in the timber [floor].”

“Climate scientists drive stake through heart of skeptics’ argument”
“New research shows that the recent rise in global temperatures is unlike anything seen on Earth during the past 2,000 years. Global warming skeptics sometimes say rising temperatures are just another naturally occurring shift in Earth’s climate, like the Medieval Warm Period of the years 800 to 1200 or the Little Ice Age, a period of cooling that spanned from roughly 1300 to 1850. But a pair of studies published Wednesday provides stark evidence that the rise in global temperatures over the past 150 years has been far more rapid and widespread than any warming period in the past 2,000 years — a finding that undercuts claims that today’s global warming isn’t necessarily the result of human activity. “The familiar maxim that the climate is always changing is certainly true,” Scott St. George, a physical geographer at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, said in a written commentary about the studies. “But even when we push our perspective to the earliest days of the Roman Empire, we cannot discern any event that is remotely equivalent — either in degree or extent — to the warming over the last few decades.”

“Climate change: 12 years to save the planet? Make that 18 months”
“Do you remember the good old days when we had “12 years to save the planet”? Now it seems, there’s a growing consensus that the next 18 months will be critical in dealing with the global heating crisis, among other environmental challenges. Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that to keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5C this century, emissions of carbon dioxide would have to be cut by 45% by 2030. But today, observers recognise that the decisive, political steps to enable the cuts in carbon to take place will have to happen before the end of next year. The idea that 2020 is a firm deadline was eloquently addressed by one of the world’s top climate scientists, speaking back in 2017.”

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