In a few weeks, many colleges and university students will return to school. A few days ago at breakfast, a nice cashier in Athens, Georgia asked if I was a professor at the University of Georgia. I said yes. The next question was "what do you teach?" and what we do in the summer. This perspective is the classic and oft-encountered public misunderstanding of what a professor does. Herein, I offer some perspective on what professors actually do.
This week a colleague sent me a private message saying that she was going to block a person on Twitter because he was being rather uncivil in his approach to her. It is unfortunate because I have noticed that some people are particularly aggressive towards my female counterparts on social media. Heck, I was even racially-harassed by scientists that disagreed with something I wrote about climate change.
Mount Kilauea has been putting on a spectacular but dangerous show. There are so many fascinating vulcanology, geology, oceanography, and meteorological lessons that an entire book could have been written by now. As a meteorologist and atmospheric sciences professor, I have been following the plumes of sulfur dioxide emanating from the volcano, "Lava haze or Laze" and the formation of "Vog" or volcanic fog. Volcanic eruptions can also produce thunderstorm type clouds.
Most experts adjusted their projections for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season because one of the primary formation regions has exhibited cooler than normal sea surface temperatures. There has also been some discussion about whether a potentially emerging El Nino (warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean) will impact activity. Even with these circumstances, it is important to remember that it only takes "one" hurricane to significantly impact society so it is important to pay attention.
According to the NOAA Hurricane Research Division website, a super-typhoon is a "term utilized by the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center for typhoons that reach maximum sustained 1-minute surface winds of at least 65 m/s (130 kt, 150 mph). This is the equivalent of a strong Saffir-Simpson category 4 or category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic basin or a category 5 severe tropical cyclone in the Australian basin." Super-typhoon Maria is a significant threat to parts of Asia including Japan’s Ryukyu Islands, eastern China, and Taiwan.
While the Atlantic basin remains quiet, the eastern Pacific basin is already up to the the "E" storm, Emilia, and another potentially developing storm right on its heels. As I poked around this morning looking at the latest models and satellite imagery, I decided that it was time to dedicate my Forbes space to another meteorological "101" session. This time I want to address a question that I often receive as an atmospheric sciences professor and meteorologist. Why don't hurricanes, typhoons, or cyclones form near the equator?
Highlights for the Southeast Mean temperatures from March through April were at least 2°F below average for over 55% of the 215 long-term (i.e., period of record equaling or exceeding 50 years) stations across the region.