Perspective

August 26, 2014
Almost a year after Colorado’s deadly and destructive floods of September 2013, a group of NCAR scientists has just completed testing an innovative new system for detecting and predicting torrential rainfall as well as the risk of local flooding.
Front Range disaster: flood waters in south Boulder, Colorado, September 12, 2013
July 30, 2014
Known from their frequent film and TV appearances, the large, charismatic birds are in danger. By 2100, according to a new study, their numbers will have fallen by around 19% and will continue to decline, qualifying the species for endangered status.
Penguins and climate change: emperor penguins and chicks at Snow Hill Island, Antarctica, October 2009
March 21, 2014
In recent years, spring snow has vanished even more quickly than computer models and climate scientists had expected, posing a research challenge and a potentially serious risk for water supplies.
Early snowmelt risk: Photo of daffodils amid late-winter snow in West Virginia
March 04, 2014
How does the U.S. winter of 2013–14 rank against its predecessors? And was it a harbinger of more cold winters to come for parts of the country, or simply an outlier at a time of largely warming winters?
Plowing snow in New Hampshire: How do cold winters and climate change intersect?
January 14, 2014
Last week’s Arctic outbreak brought some of the coldest air in decades across the U.S. Midwest and South. But interestingly, it didn’t last as long as historic cold waves of the late 20th century.
Midwest cold wave: Ice fog in frigid air produces sun dogs
January 13, 2014
In parts of California and Oregon, 2013 was the driest calendar year on record, with no sign of relief on the horizon. NCAR scientists are examining how water and energy use intersect across this drought-prone region and how the nexus could evolve in a future climate.
Drought puts California water supply at risk: Photo of Lake Mead, Nevada/Arizona
January 08, 2014
The globally averaged surface air temperature hasn’t risen much in the last 15 years, but new research confirms ample heating of Earth, which becomes evident when looking at certain times of year and in particular locations, including deep in the ocean.
Warming hiatus? Map showing changes in global temperature since late 1970s
January 06, 2014
It’s hard to escape the cold now plowing into the eastern United States. Amid all the hype, what stands out about this early winter onslaught?
Winter cold: Student launching a weather balloon in heavy snow during OWLes project
January 01, 2014
If the official weather forecast holds, Sunday's Super Bowl won’t have to be postponed. But the outlook would be far more uncertain if predictions today were as primitive as they were at the time of the first Super Bowl in 1967.
Snow and the Super Bowl: Chicago's worst blizzard struck in January 1967
January 01, 2014
Next month’s Super Bowl will be the first ever held in an open stadium in the northern U.S. What weather might we expect two weeks from now, and how might research improve a forecast in that time range?
Can a two-week forecast warn us of Super Bowl snow? Pictured: 1950 "Snow Bowl"
October 01, 2013
Though Hurricane Sandy struck almost a year ago, the fearsome cyclone lives on within the circuits of supercomputers that are replicating its unusual evolution and track.
Supercomputer visualization of Hurricane Sandy, including near-surface winds and radar reflectivity
September 14, 2013
Four days of rainfall across Colorado’s Front Range produced massive flooding that’s marooned thousands, inundated key roads, and damaged countless homes and businesses. Just how rare was this event?
Front Range disaster: flood waters in south Boulder, Colorado, September 12, 2013
July 29, 2013
Just as forecasters now peg the odds of a busy Atlantic hurricane season months in advance, we might soon have outlooks that assess the risk of an active tornado season weeks or even months ahead of time.
Tornado and wall cloud: Is long-range tornado prediction feasible?
June 07, 2013
The world of severe storm science was shaken by the deaths of three longtime researchers in a vicious tornado on May 31. The storm also raised serious questions about how urban dwellers can best respond to tornado threats.
Wedge tornado near El Reno on May 31, 2013
May 15, 2013
Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have crossed a major threshold: 400 parts per million. Here are five key points on how carbon dioxide is affecting Earth’s atmosphere and the role we're playing in it.
Carbon dioxide and the Keeling Curve: depiction of recent trends against blue sky
May 09, 2013
The last month has seen a trail of smashed records across the central United States, as pulse after pulse of cold air careened down the Great Plains. How does this fit into the bigger picture of a warming U.S. climate?
Putting cold in context: Snowfall atop Ozark Mountains, May 4, 2013
April 15, 2013
Forests across western North America have been ravaged by the most extensive bark beetle attacks on record. Scientists are getting a better handle on what comes next—and the answers aren’t as straightforward as they expected.
Mountain pine beetle damage near Grand Lake, Colorado
March 18, 2013
If predicting snow is a tough business, measuring it is no piece of cake either.
Snow measurement: Ethan Gutmann checks automated equipment
March 04, 2013
A major winter storm is threatening the Washington, D.C., area this week, on the heels of record-setting snowfalls and blizzard conditions in several parts of the United States last month. Are these onslaughts catching people off guard?
Predicting snowstorms: Accumulations from blizzard photographed on February 9, 2013, in Billerica, Massachusetts
February 22, 2013
Satellite images have revealed at least three dramatic eye-like features not far off the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific coasts over the last several weeks. While these can look startlingly like the eyes of hurricanes, they’re not quite the same thing.
Eye-like feature within stratocumulus in coastal eddy off southern California coast
February 07, 2013
How do you determine whether some location, or the nation, is having a truly brutal winter? As it turns out, the story differs depending on whether it’s being told through events, statistics, or opinions.
How bad has your winter been? Winter scene from New England
January 24, 2013
Much of the United States has felt winter’s bite this week, with fresh but frigid cold to the east and a weeks-long spell of stagnant, polluted chill to the west.
Inversion over Salt Lake City, January 2011, related to persistent cold and pollution events
January 15, 2013
Even as the rest of the nation baked in 2012, Alaska froze. The contiguous 48 U.S. states saw their warmest year on record by far, but it was one of Alaska's chilliest.
Alaska cold - headlights on a highway in Fairbanks, AK
December 31, 2012
More than two days ahead of landfall, it was clear that Hurricane Sandy could bring higher water than New York and New Jersey had seen in decades. But for thousands of people in the area, the threat simply didn’t register. (Part 1 of 2)
Hurricane Sandy storm surge-wreckage of New Jersey roller coaster
December 31, 2012
Sandy's storm surge was more than twice that of other recent tropical cyclones in the New York City area—but several other factors teamed up to bring waters to their catastrophically high level. (Part 2 of 2)
Dissecting Sandy's storm surge-graphic shows top-10 high water events at Battery Park, NYC

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