If you're in a safe area (please, don't do this if you're not) scientists are looking for some help dissecting Hurricane Sandy. By collecting samples with the help of volunteers, researchers can learn a lot about an extreme weather event: where it came from, how it got to where it is, and more. To do that in this case, a team from the University of Utah and Purdue have assembled a network of 100 volunteers (at last update) to take samples over a 12-hour period. Read more about it here.
This month, as part of our special on the future of education, PopSci presents 10 labs where students do serious research (and career training) by blowing stuff up.Lab: The Lightning Research Lab at the University of Florida
Career: Lightning-tolerant spacecraft designer, power utilities engineer
A lucky few engineering students at the University of Florida get to do something vaguely magical: conjure their own lightning.
It's not in doubt that global warming is changing the planet for the worse, but it's difficult to identify which, if any, specific weather events we can definitively link to it. But a new (and divisive) paper from senior NASA climate scientist James E. Hansen suggests that global warming is almost definitely the cause of heat waves and other events observed in the last decade.
In an effort to stay one step ahead of the summer monsoon season, Indian scientists are embarking on an ambitious and unprecedented project to build computer models that will allow them to predict the movements of erratic monsoons weeks in advance. If successful, the Indian government thinks it can drastically alter economic outcomes for hundreds of millions of people whose lives depend directly on India’s agriculture sector.
We're further along in using science to manually force the weather's hand than many people suspect. In 2009, for example, the Chinese government used weather manipulation to bring a snowstorm to Beijing, and they aren't the only nation giving it a try. But using so-called "cloud seeding" techniques as high-tech rain dances is controversial; critics say it's both ineffective and bad for the environment. A potentially better solution -- to this, as to most things! -- is to fire up some lasers.
By Daniel EngberPosted 07.10.2012 at 11:06 am 21 Comments
Unpredictable extremes of weather could be a huge problem. Simon N. Gosling, a geographer at the University of Nottingham in England, and Robert E. Davis of the University of Virginia agree that hotter weather on average isn't as dangerous as unexpected weather. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in April looked at how temperature fluctuations over a single summer affect mortality in vulnerable populations.
Today is World Meteorological Day, and there's no better time to take a serious look at our meteorological surroundings than right now, here in North America. All across the continent, records have been smashed: from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic, a heat wave like nothing we've ever seen before is hitting the U.S. and Canada, while out west, Oregon has gotten a new record for snowfall. Just what is going on here?
This past Wednesday broke records all across the Midwest and Northeast. Some stats: