Articles by Paul Douglas

Tornado Damage
June 7

6 Takeaways From The Biggest Swarm of U.S. Tornadoes Since 2011

America’s tornado drought is officially over. The last few years have been relatively quiet, with few large, violent tornadoes. In 2018 there were no tornado-related deaths in traditional Tornado Alley, stretching from Texas to Iowa. But so far in 2019, 31 Americans have lost their lives to tornadoes, nature’s most extreme, unpredictable and capricious wind storms. In the last 2 weeks at least 366 tornadoes have been observed east of the Rockies. Once again, the United States is living up to its reputation as the tornado capital of the planet. Over the last couple weeks I’ve watched in morbid fascination...

Hands holding large hail
May 10

Are We Seeing More Hail In A Warmer, Wetter World? Experts Say Not Yet

“Come hell, hail or high water.” For anyone who has had their car dinged or shingles shredded, there’s a perception that damaging hail is on the rise. But a careful look at the observational record suggests otherwise. As a meteorologist and businessman, I respond to data. If I ignore data, evidence or trends that make me uncomfortable, I quickly go out of business. Separating out the signal of climate change from the noise of random everyday weather is challenging. When it comes to hail trends, perception, and a changing observational baseline over time, may be trumping reality. A graphic from...

satellite image of earth with hurricane
March 8

Rapid Ocean Warming Poses New Challenges for Tropical Cyclone Prediction

Better Hurricane Forecasts Will Require Near-Real-Time, Deep Ocean Monitoring “How many more eyewall replacement cycles before landfall? Let me check the latest real-time, deep ocean temperature anomalies first”. This scenario may not be as far-fetched as it sounds. Recent studies confirm warming of the world’s oceans is taking place faster than previously estimated; as much as 40% faster than the United Nations estimated in 2015. The implications of warming seas include stronger and more rapidly-intensifying hurricanes and more extreme rainfall amounts. Research confirms roughly 93% of the additional warming from man-made greenhouse gases is going into the world’s oceans. Climate...

Hurricane Blog
August 30

Minimizing Tropical Storm Risk With Real-Time Weather Data

by Paul Douglas Meteorologists track storms of all shapes and sizes, but there is nothing quite as awe-inspiring and destructive as a major landfalling hurricane. These Texas-size whirlwinds of trouble produce a weather-trifecta of risk: storm surge, high winds, and inland flooding. Called typhoons in the western Pacific and cyclones in the Indian Ocean, they are identical in structure and formation; drawing warmth from the oceans and converting it into raging spiral bands of shrieking winds and blinding rain. The lighter the winds aloft and warmer the seas, the greater the potential for a cluster of thunderstorms to strengthen into a...

July 24

Flooding Frequency and Intensity are Increasing – Are You Factoring the Latest Trends?

by Paul Douglas A tropical storm named “Agnes” flooded my home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1972; a traumatic event that ultimately led me to pursue a degree in meteorology at nearby Penn State. Many of us have a flood-related story or close encounter, and rising water is impacting more Americans with every passing year. There is precedent for concern: according to NOAA only extreme heat has claimed more American lives over the last 30 years. In fact, flooding is the costliest natural disaster in the United States. It accounted for more than $268 billion in damage in 2017, a number...

July 10

Flood Frequency and Intensity is Increasing – Are You Factoring the Latest Trends?

A tropical storm named “Agnes” flooded my home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1972; a traumatic event that ultimately led me to pursue a degree in meteorology at nearby Penn State. Many of us have a flood-related story or close encounter, and rising water is impacting more Americans with every passing year. There is precedent for concern: according to NOAA only extreme heat has claimed more American lives over the last 30 years. Inland Flooding On The Rise. In fact, flooding is the costliest natural disaster in the United States. It accounted for more than $268 billion in damage in 2017,...

Lightning Strike Blog
June 6

Harnessing the Power of Lightning Strikes

by Paul Douglas “Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work”, said Mark Twain. Most of us have had a close call with lightning and no wonder. Cloud to ground lightning strikes the Earth approximately 50 times a second – roughly 1.4 billion flashes every year. According to NOAA, an average of 47 Americans are struck and killed by lightning annually – deadlier than tornadoes and hurricanes many years. Lightning is terrifying and vaguely mysterious – scientists don’t begin to have all the answers. But it serves a purpose in nature. These crackling electrostatic...

May 21

Leveraging Global Air Quality for Business

by Paul Douglas An old joke insists that Californians don’t trust air they can’t actually see. Unfortunately, air pollution is no laughing matter. According to recent research, more than 95% of the world’s population breathes unsafe air, contributing to more than 6 million deaths worldwide in 2017. In the US alone studies suggest 7,000 to as many as 200,000 premature deaths occur annually as a result of unhealthy air. At this rate, a conservative estimate can state that air pollution claims as many lives as traffic accidents each year. The statistics are staggering, but the first step is understanding. Air...

smoke coming out of industrial chimneys
April 6

Tracking Current and Future Global Air Quality with AerisWeather

An old joke insists that Californians don’t trust air they can’t actually see. Unfortunately, air pollution is no laughing matter. More than 95% of the world’s population breathes unsafe air, according to recent research. People living in urban areas in the world’s developing countries are most at risk from both outdoor and indoor air pollution. Experts estimate that exposure to air pollution contributed to more than 6 million deaths worldwide in 2017. A staggering one in three people worldwide faces the double whammy of unsafe air, both indoors and out. Globally an estimated 2.9 billion people are at risk. The...

Tornadic Activity (3-20-2018)
March 27

Multiple Strands of Evidence – Severe Weather is Increasing Worldwide

by Paul Douglas It’s definitely not your grandfather’s weather anymore. Data suggest an uptick in severe weather, worldwide – symptomatic of a warming atmosphere and warming oceans. It’s basic physics: every 2F of warming means roughly 8 percent more water vapor floating overhead; more fuel to “juice” storms and produce heavier summer rains and winter snows. The result has been a subsequent increase in billion-dollar weather events across the United States since 1980. The United States has experienced 25 separate 500-year floods since 2010, according to NOAA. During Hurricane Harvey, the town of Nederland, Texas received 64.58” of rain. By...