Thursday, December 31, 2009

Final thoughts for 2009

I haven't been much into blog posting or blog reading lately. That's expecially true for me about storm chasing, which seems to have evolved into a largely clickish, competitive, petty, and fame-seeking "activity" recently. Where has the wonder of nature aspect gone? Where is the true interest in learning how nature and weather works?

As people who know me understand, I've always been interested in severe weather forecasting research. But now I'm even a little down on that, too. I don't see forecasting and warnings getting significantly better in the near future with the data density and observational equipment we have currently available, and the increased reliance on computer models. Honestly, warnings for big weather events are already pretty good. All the talk about in TV storm chasing shows about saving lives with more weather research seems moot and more than a little silly when people don't respond to warnings, or even seem to hear them through all the noise of our 24/7 media these days.

Events with excellent warnings like Hurricanes Katrina and Ike (Tim Marshall gave an excellent November talk in KC about Ike and how poorly many people in the Galveston area reacted to the intensely-worded warnings), and the Super Tuesday tornado outbreak in 2008, underline that saving lives these days in extreme weather events is more a sociological issue (getting people to hear and respond) than a meteorological one. These thoughts aren't new or ground-breaking, and are certainly being recognized and studied in programs like UCAR's WAS*IS (see, which is a good thing to see.

Anyway, I feel that I'm in transition with my focus and goals at this point in my life, and it will be
interesting to see where that leads in 2010.

- Jon Davies 12/31/09