Following the Fall Line

My brother and sister-in-law and I were remembering an unpleasant event fondly, as one does once it’s safely over.  A few years ago, they’d been here in Baltimore and were heading back on I-95 to Philadelphia, and the usual 1.5-to-2 hour trip took 5 because a snow storm had moved over I-95 and stayed there.  […]

The Philosophy of Weather

Last Friday night the Boston runway looked like an Arctic landing, bits of tarmac barely visible through sheets of blowing snow. I had a good view of the runway with the plane tipping like a seesaw, coming in on the tail of an explosive cyclogenesis, or bombogenesis, media-shortened to a bomb cyclone. This unusual storm […]

Doom and the dogmometer

One way to understand a really big problem is to break it down into more manageable parts. That’s why scientists use specific, smaller systems to help them grasp the overall health of the planet. The Arctic, for example, is regarded as a bellwether for the catastrophes of climate change that will soon afflict us all, […]

Not all stories are words, not all maps are pictures

You know those sounds that slip across the senses until they settle, in the brain, on an association entirely unrelated to their maker? Those sounds that seem to almost synesthetically transform one thing into another? The way noise can be brilliant, or color evokes flavor, or a smell touches old dreams? An unspectacular-looking, fist-sized bird […]

Redux: June Gloom

It’s that time of year again: less than three weeks until the summer solstice, and I have pulled out my down vest, wool hat, scarf, and fuzzy boots. Yes, June Gloom is reduxing, as is this post, which originally appeared in 2012. But it’s not so bad. I love my fuzzy boots. ** I used […]

Redux: When is it time to revise our story?

This post first ran on January 26, 2012. We now have three years in a row that have set records for the hottest year on record, and it comes after a string of previous records.  Today’s post began with a social media status update by my friend Paolo Bacigalupi. Paolo wrote: At what point does a […]

Redux: Dust on our crust

This post first appeared on April 24, 2013. Unfortunately, the problem of dust on snow has not gone away. Since I wrote this post, NASA has gotten involved in studying snow on the Grand Mesa. I wrote about the NASA project for FiveThirtyEight. Spring is a nervous time for skiers and farmers. I’m both of these, […]

Same River Twice

Since last week, we’ve been watching the weather forecast with something that’s almost joy, but won’t quite let itself be. Often, the weekly report has a beaded string of sunshines, with different ways to describe them. Abundant sunshine. Plenty of sun. Hot. Sometimes, there are clouds. But even when the slot machine lineup of my weather […]