The wildfire that erupted in the foothills west of Boulder in September 2010 sent a thick plume of smoke right over NCAR’s chemistry labs. Even as their offices smelled of smoke, scientists took measurements from the roof.
In 1988, it was the spectre of Yellowstone National Park on fire. In 2003, it was the horror of thousands dying from heat in prosperous western Europe. The planet’s standout heat wave in 2010 plagued much of European Russia, including Moscow.
In Kansas City and Tulsa, overnight lows have seldom dipped much below 80°F, with consistently oppressive humidity. Pulses of tropical air flowing north and east from the Gulf of Mexico are largely to blame.
The year 2010 brought a difficult and sometimes tragic few months of weather events—first the snowstorms and record cold that battered much of the Northern Hemisphere, then tornadoes and floods in the United States.
Residents of the mid-Atlantic can be forgiven if they’re craving a bit of calm. The weekend of 5–6 February brought what’s been variously dubbed Snowpocalypse II, Snowmageddon, Snowtastrophe, and the Superbowl Superstorm.