Weather Gadgets

March 17, 2011

Amazon Hot New Weather Book Release -- Catastrophes! Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Tornadoes, and Other Earth-Shattering Disasters


Truly scary how little control we have over the natural world. Coincidental with the nightmare the Japanese are living through, Catastrophes! Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Tornadoes, and Other Earth-Shattering Disasters by Donald R. Prothero is scheduled for release today March 17, 2011. The author is Professor of Geology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. The book offers easy to understand explanations of the forces that caused noteworthy disasters along with "gut-wrenching accounts of terrifying human experiences and a staggering loss of human life." Whew!

Some are now wondering if there a connection between the Japanese earthquake and climate change, or solar storms perhaps. USA Today reassures us that there is no such thing as *earthquake weather*, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Statistically, there is approximately an equal distribution of earthquakes in cold weather, hot weather, rainy weather and so on.

The earthquake off the coast of Japan -- and all earthquakes -- are independent of both global warming and solar activity, according to Roger Pielke, Sr., a senior research scientist at the University of Colorado.

He says these geophysical events are a result of movements in the Earth's crust, as are any tsunamis that follow an earthquake. Long-term changes in the Earth's atmosphere don't affect geology.

And, speaking of March 17, Happy St Paddy's Day!

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March 11, 2011

Google Launches Person Finder Search Engine in Response to Japanese Disaster


This is fascinating. Engadget reports Google reacts to Japanese tsunami with a Person Finder tool. Always heartening to witness the good in people:

Now this is the sort of activity you'd expect from a true search giant. Instead of sitting on its hands during the tsunami that has stricken Japan today, Google has put together a Person Finder tool where people worried about the plight of their loved ones can look them up by name.

Visit the Japanese Person Finder here. Apparently there is also another Person Finder for the Christchurch earthquake victims.

Here are more videos over at BuzzFeed.

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WeatherWise -- News and Videos of the 8.9 Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan March 11, 2011


As you have probably heard by now, a massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Japan today, Friday 3/11/11, wreaking havoc and causing widespread fires which are burning out of control. A powerful tsunami spawned by the largest earthquake in Japan's recorded history also devastated the eastern coast today, sweeping away boats, cars, homes and people. Tsunami warnings have been issued for the entire Pacific and more than 50 countries, as far away as South America, Canada, Alaska and the entire U.S. West Coast.

The Japan earthquake was 8,000 times bigger than the one that struck Christchurch last month, according to the UK Telegraph. They report this quake is the biggest since records began 140 years ago. Japan is an area of the world accustomed to earthquakes due to its position on the boundary of the Pacific and Eurasian tectonic plates.

Television networks across the world are carring much dramatic footage, some of it live, of the tsunami spawned by the earthquake.

To watch more videos at, click here.

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WeatherWise -- Upcoming Solar Storms Could Grind High-Tech to a Halt


We all know solar power is a good thing, and like most things, best in moderation. Just a few weeks ago on this past Valentine's Day, the sun erupted with the largest solar flare seen in four years--powerful enough to interfere with Earth radio communications and GPS signals for airplanes on long-distance flights.

As solar storms go, this flare was relatively modest. But, according to Nat Geo -- What If the Biggest Solar Storm on Record Happened Today? the burst of activity is only the start of the upcoming solar maximum (the period of greatest solar activity in the solar cycle of the sun) due to start in 2012.

The biggest solar storm on record, called the Carrington Event, occurred in 1859 during a solar maximum about the same size as the one we're entering.

During the Carrington Event, northern lights were reported as far south as Cuba and Honolulu, while southern lights were seen as far north as Santiago, Chile. The flares were so powerful that "people in the northeastern U.S. could read newspaper print just from the light of the aurora," Daniel Baker, of the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, said at a geophysics meeting last December.
How would we be affected today in 2011? Powerful solar flares could knock out our GPS services (cell phones, airplanes, and automobiles), satellite communications (TV, credit cards) and electrical grid (power surges blowing out our giant transformers.)

solarstormbk.jpg For more information, read Nat Geo -- What If the Biggest Solar Storm on Record Happened Today? and check out Solar Storms: The darker side of the sun by Lydia D. Thomson - Smith, just published February 23, 2011.

Photo: Solar Storms Light Up Arctic Night--NatGeo

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March 10, 2011

Reminder -- Savor That Late Winter Weather


For those of us weary of winter weather, here's a chuckle from the Onion, Nation Savoring Every Moment Of Glorious Late-February, Early-March Days:

WASHINGTON--Saying there are only a few days left to relish the steel-gray skies, dirt-caked melting snow, and still-freezing temperatures, citizens across the country are reportedly taking the time to savor every last moment of 2011's late-February, early-March days. "It's my favorite time of year," said 42-year-old Cleveland resident Meredith Polonsky, adding that she loves stepping outside and smelling the thawing dog shit nobody bothered to pick up during the winter, as well as going to the park, avoiding all the places where the ground is too wet, and going home early because the high winds make her eyes hurt. "Also, I love that the days are getting longer, but still aren't long enough to actually do anything. It's really magical." According to a CNN/New York Times†poll, a majority of Americans are hoping for just one more night where a slushy, rain-snow mix forces them to stay inside and watch another Milwaukee Bucks-Indiana Pacers regular season basketball game.
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March 9, 2011

WeatherWise: Weather Architecture--Weather of the Future


Recently we posted an amazing fire tornado photo. Along the same lines, reporting on weather futurism, io9 reminisces back to the summer of 1973 when artist Dennis Oppenheim tried to create an artificial tornado on the bed of a dry desert lake in Southern California as part of his "Whirlpool" project. The above image explains that it was intended as a "3/4 mile by 4 mile schemata of tornado, traced in [the] sky using standard white smoke discharge from aircraft."

Back to the present, the article also reports that artist Anthony McCall plans to create "a spinning column of cloud a mile high" on Merseyside next year as part of the Cultural Olympiad for 2012. According to Creative Review, it will be "visible across the North West region throughout the Olympic year."


io9 speculates:

We'll have to see how it actually works out, of course, but the idea that cities might soon deploy large-scale specialty weather-effects-that is, permanent climatological megastructures-instead of, say, Taj Mahals or Guggenheim Bilbaos as a way of differentiating themselves from their urban competition is a compelling one.

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March 8, 2011

WeatherWise: Google Invests $42 Million in WeatherBill Weather insurance


Even though as a society we cannot seem to agree on the legitimacy of "global warming", most of us accept the notion of "climate change". Google, in partnership with Khosla Ventures, has announced an investment of $42 million into WeatherBill. Using an algorithm to calculate risk, WeatherBill sells insurance online covering business loss due to unpredictable weather.

Increased frequency of inclement or unexpected weather conditions are responsible for over 90% of crop loss, placing more and more agricultural businesses at risk. WeatherBill's flagship product, Total Weather Insurance (TWI), is a the first full-season private pay weather protection program for U.S. farmers to protect their income. It functions as a supplement to their government-subsidized crop insurance.

Not a farmer? WeatherBill also offers policies for other industries such as Travel, Outdoor Events, Snow Removal, Ski Resorts, Energy and more. Unlike the government subsidy program, with a WeatherBill insurance policy there are no claims to file, no adjustment needed--if certain specified bad weather conditions occur, WeatherBill automatically generates and sends a check to the policy holder within 10 days of the end of their policy period.

via CNNMoney--Fortune Tech

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March 4, 2011

Weather Snob Returns Next Week


That's right we'll be back next week with new articles, weather gadgets and fun. Stay tuned!

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December 16, 2010

The Holiday Weather We'd Like to Have

754119-christmas-day.jpg Happy holidays from Weather Snob!
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June 26, 2009

The Best Wireless Weather Forecasting Stations and Gadgets


We've created a page of the best of the best Wireless Weather Forecasting gadgets - we think you'll find it very helpful.

At Weather Snob: The Best Wireless Weather Forecasting Stations and Gadgets

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