Perspective

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
December 12, 2012
Though we’re still more than two weeks from the end of 2012, it’s not too soon to get a sense of how the year will go down in meteorological annals. Some of the signals from January to November are so strong that December won’t change the outcome.
Weather year in review-map showing U.S. heat, global warmth
November 30, 2012
What if we could use the data from fevered searches for flu information on the Web, plus humidity observations, to help predict the course of an outbreak? If new research lives up to its promise, we’ll soon be able to do just that.
Goolge and flu-Person getting the influenza vaccine via injection
November 19, 2012
A number of factors—both meteorological and societal—would need to conspire for the current drought to resemble the all-out disaster of the 1930s Dust Bowl. Yet a devastating outcome could emerge with a flavor all its own.
Drought in Boulder County, 2012, evokes Dust Bowl imagery
November 09, 2012
NOAA has cancelled the El Niño Watch that’s been in effect since late summer (see PDF), but this doesn't guarantee a placid U.S. winter.
Snowy street in Seattle
November 02, 2012
Every so often, a quiet corner of research suddenly grabs the spotlight. Such was the case this week when a Category 1 Atlantic hurricane morphed into Superstorm Sandy.
UCAR Magazine
October 29, 2012
Hurricane Sandy is on track to carve its way into weather annals. There will no doubt be devastating, deadly effects, along with some impacts one doesn’t expect in a hurricane.
Hurricane Sandy
October 25, 2012
Hurricane Sandy may pummel the mid-Atlantic coast early next week, possibly carving out multiple niches in U.S. weather history while producing what could easily be billions of dollars in damage.
GFDL forecast depicting of Hurricane Sandy inland near Philadelphia

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