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, […]

Redux: A Snow Day

The last few days in Washington have been beautiful, springlike. Soft breezes, temperature in the 60s and 70s. Which would be fine, if it were spring. But it is February, and it is not fine. This weather is making me angry. I try to enjoy it, because it’s what we have, and it is, objectively, […]

Redux: Below the Snow

Right now, the meteorological event that some are calling Winter Storm Kayla is on its way across the U.S. While people may be curled up inside with a quilt by the fire, another group of creatures is finding shelter outside, under a cold, white blanket. This post about that unique below-the-snow spot, called the subnivium, originally ran in […]

A Snow Day

The first snow of the year, and the first noticeable snow of this winter, fell here in D.C. on Tuesday. Yes, we know that our reaction to snow makes no sense. No, we don’t have enough snowplows. No, we don’t know how to drive in snow. You’re very clever for noticing, People Who Live In […]

Freezeproof a Fairy—With Science!

Tom Painter, a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, studies snow hydrology in mountains around the world. He’s also a leading expert on the thermodynamics of fairies and princesses. Painter started his fairy-princess sideline a few years ago, when he was asked to lend his expertise to Tinkerbell: Secret of the Wings. In the movie—bear with […]

Snowbound and Murderous

My God but the veneer of civilization is thin. Baltimore had one of its whomping good snowstorms last week – I stopped measuring at 14 inches – and the next day it had another 3 inches or so, plus sleet, and the day after it had only an inch, plus more of that sleet, and […]

Below the Snow

It’s after Memorial Day, so I should be wearing white instead of thinking about the white stuff.  (Although if I were in the Arctic Circle or even in Vermont and New York, where a late-May storm dropped a foot or more in some spots, I might be thinking about snow quite a bit). Even when […]