Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 3:10 pm
Hurricane Sandy's huge cloud extends up to 2,000 miles based on a satellite image from Sunday.<em></em>
Credit NASA GOES Project
It was not a good year for people, weather and climate. The winter was strangely warm in many places and the summer ridiculously hot. As a large fraction of the country suffered through extreme or even extraordinary drought many folks naturally wondered, "Is this climate change?" Then along came a presidential election in which the words "climate change" disappeared from the dialogue. Now, just a week or so before voting day, the convergence of westbound Hurricane Sandy with a eastbound cold front is creating a massive storm, a Frankenstorm even, that is threatening millions of Americans.
In this satellite image provided Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hurricane Sandy's huge cloud extent of up to 2,000 miles churns over the Bahamas, as a line of clouds associated with a powerful cold front approaches the East Coast of the U.S.
Credit Handout / Getty Images
It's still unclear whether Sandy will be a devastating storm or just a bad one.
It is clear, however, that Sandy will be remembered as the storm that broke all the rules and baffled the nation's top weather forecasters.
Early Saturday morning, the National Weather Service downgraded the storm from a hurricane to a tropical storm — only to return it to hurricane status a few hours later. Either way, forecasters warn, "widespread impacts" are expected along the coast.
Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 8:39 pm
A midas fly touches down on the sands of the desert in the United Arab Emirates. A lake in the area has brought new forms of wildlife, but some scientists are concerned it could harm the habitat of the midas fly.
One place you don't expect to see waves lapping against the shore is in the middle of a desert. But that's exactly what's happening deep inside the United Arab Emirates, where a recently formed lake is nestled into the sand dunes, and a new ecosystem is emerging.
Drive through the desert in the United Arab Emirates, and all you see mile after mile are red, rolling dunes. Maybe some occasional trees or shrubs, but otherwise a dry, red sandscape.
And then, suddenly, a bright blue spot comes into view. It must be a mirage, you think. But it's not.
These are some of the "spaghetti map" models used to generate a forecast for Hurricane Sandy's track. The models have grown increasingly sophisticated over the years.
Credit PCWeather Products Inc.
If you've ever found yourself anxiously wondering where a hurricane might make landfall, then you're probably familiar with "spaghetti charts" — the intertwined web of possible storm tracks put out by many forecasters.
Those lines represent hundreds of millions of observations from satellites, aircraft, balloons and buoys, all crunched from complex forecasting equations on some of the world's most powerful computers.
Time for our monthly meeting of the SCIENCE FRIDAY Book Club. Here with me are SCIENCE FRIDAY's multimedia editor, Flora Lichtman, and our senior producer, Annette Heist. And this month we have the physics - physics on our to-do list, right? A classic book by Richard Feynman, Annette?
ANNETTE HEIST, BYLINE: That's right. It is called "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character."
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. There it was in big, bold type on the Fox News website, how Twitter may have tipped the election for Romney. A column written by Juan Williams, who points out that Twitter reported there were, quote, a whopping 10.3 million tweets during the first debate, unquote.
Next up, the science of monsters. Like most myths, there are some real-world phenomena behind the stories. Take vampires, for example. Let me read you a passage from Bram Stoker's "Dracula," where Professor Van Helsing describes the monster.
Earthquakes, terrorist attacks and muggings have all scared people to death. Sporting events, too, sometimes cause frenzied fans to drop dead. Neurologist Martin Samuels of Brigham and Women's Hospital explains how positive or negative excitement can lead to a heart-stopping surge of adrenaline.