New FOIA'd emails reveal the chaos behind the scenes of the National Weather Service's #SharpieGate

In early September 2019, President Donald J. Trump tweeted something dumb. Specifically, this time it was about the encroaching Hurricane Dorian, and the places that it would or would not hit.

At the time, there was no indication that it was ever going to hit Alabama. But Trump's stubborn ego — so unwilling to admit to, well, anything — turned life into hell for the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It reached a point where Trump literally drew on a map with a sharpie to make it look like he'd been right all along, and the central office of the NOAA was publicly disavowing efforts by the Birmingham, Alabama office of the NWA to deliver accurate information to the very same people who would potentially stand in harm's way, or who might be tempted to make irrational decisions in a panic over the president's false information.

In short, it was a perfect microcosmic storm of everything wrong with the Trump administration.

This past Friday, January 31, the NWA and NOAA released a trove of 1,000 emails relating to the incident, revealing the panic behind the scenes as different government agencies found themselves torn between protecting the public, and protecting the president's fragile ego. Read the rest

Help climate scientists by transcribing weather data from old ships' logs

The Old Weather project is a crowdsourced effort to gather data on historic climate patterns by transcribing entries from old, logbooks, some typed and some handwritten. The project is jointly run by NOAA and the Smithsonian. (via Kottke) Read the rest

Badass NOAA storm trackers fly into Hurricane Florence

As a million people evacuate the coastal regions of Virginia and North Carolina to escape the damaging winds of Hurricane Florence, the badass scientists of NOAA are flying smack-dab into the storm. Read the rest

$300,000,000,000+: 2017's American "natural disaster" bill was by far the highest in history

Until 2017, the biggest bill Americans ever paid for a year's worth of "natural disasters" was $214.8B, back in 2005: in 2017, it was at least $300B, not counting much of the damage to Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria. Read the rest

Awesome space photo of a volcano in action: Indonesia's Mount Rinjani, erupting

NOAA just released this awesome NASA image of a volcanic eruption in action. Read the rest