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:
In honor of World Meteorological Day, it makes sense to take a closer look at the highly unusual winter and spring we've had so far. Mother Jones has a roundup of these experts--and some regular folks (with hefty Twitter followings) being wowed and amazed by the warmth of the season, which has already broken scores of records across North America. Our favorite? The Deputy Director of the NOAA's Climate Prediction Center calls it "incredible" and "mind-boggling." Unclear what this means for the climbability of various mountains. [Mother Jones]
A storm system brewing in the Rockies today might trigger an outbreak of deadly tornadoes in the nation's midsection on Friday, according to meteorologists. In case you missed it, read PopSci senior editor Seth Fletcher's piece about how tornadoes form — and how climate change may be making them worse.
The hundreds of millions of bats in the U.S. are in serious trouble, threatened by such hazards as wind turbines and a fungal infection called white-nose syndrome, all while facing the uncertainty of a changing climate. Most bats hide in caves during the day and live in the air at night, making them notoriously difficult to study. But if scientists are going to help them, they need to be able to track them.
First Australian climate scientists had to go into witness protection. Now they're being threatened by pirates. Or their research is, anyway.
Climate scientists are asking the Australian and U.S. navies to help ward off pirates so they can deploy robotic instruments in the western Indian Ocean, reports the Independent.
By Paul KvintaPosted 03.23.2011 at 10:17 am 3 Comments
"The animals are telling us things," said Martin Wikelski, hopping out of the cockpit of his Cessna. He had just spent a chilly January morning chasing blackbirds in southern France. "Maybe they're saying, 'the next earthquake will happen this week,' or 'listen, we're telling you where this ebola outbreak is headed. Pay attention.'" The blackbirds hadn't been quite so explicit today, but by tracking data from radio tags temporarily glued to their backs, he had learned their heart rates and how fast they flap their wings.