Currents Archive

Composite of drought-stricken land and water Bob Henson | January 4, 2012  •  If 2011 could be dubbed the Year of Extreme U.S. Weather, its most tenacious element was the intense contrast between record drought in the Southern Plains and record-setting precipitation elsewhere. Both are noteworthy, and the combination is especially striking. But how best to quantify such a dual impact? Several indices help point the way.
UCAR Magazine Margaret LeMone | January 4, 2012  •  We love birds. We have several feeders in the yard, and a few years ago we invested in a bird bath, which is powered so that the water never freezes. This way the birds (and squirrels!) can get a drink in the middle of winter.
Golden maple leaf casts shadow on white snow It wasn't all that cold, but it certainly was wet.
Reflections of the Sun against Anthes Building Margaret LeMone | 8 November 2011  •  As Don Lenschow walked on the sidewalk near the recently refurbished Anthes Building on 13 October, he noticed a patch of very warm air. Don, a colleague of mine in NCAR’s Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division (MMM), was on his way to work around 9:25 a.m. MDT when the warm air caught his attention. Puzzled, he stopped to assess the situation. Warm air from the nearby sewer grate? None.
UCAR Magazine Bob Henson | 20 September 2011  •  It finally rained in Pecos. On 14 September, the West Texas town received a modest but welcome 0.13 inches, plus another 0.27” in the following three days (about 16 millimeters total) . Normally that wouldn’t be big news—except the last time Pecos had gotten any substantial rain was on 23 September 2010. During the intervening year, the town scraped by with a mere 0.03” (1 mm). 
field of corn Bob Henson | 21 July 2011  •  If you’re an American, it’s tough to avoid corn. This ubiquitous starch turns up in soft drinks, compostable cups, and automobile fuel. It even plays a role in U.S. heat waves, including the intense one now under way.
UCAR Magazine David Hosansky | 28 June 2011  •  Hazy skies and fiery sunsets were noted across much of the central United States after the huge Wallow Fire developed this month in Arizona. But there’s also a quantitative way to track the fire’s impact on the surrounding air.
UCAR Magazine Bob Henson | 21 June 2011  •   The Sun drives our climate, so a slowdown in solar activity would surely put the brakes on global warming—wouldn’t it? That question percolated through the media last week following a set of reports from a solar physics meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Three talks each presented a different line of evidence suggesting that the Sun may be poised for one or more decades of lower-than-usual activity.
Thumbnail of graphic showing shift in prevalence of record heat David Hosansky | 2 June 2011  •  How can a relatively small increase in the average temperature of the planet lead to numerous record-breaking heat waves?
UCAR Magazine Margaret LeMone | 26 May 2011  •  The email exchange in response to my 30 March post revealed not only the enthusiasm of the Boulder weather community for clouds but also the presence of a large number of instruments probing the atmosphere over Boulder—and, in the end, the height of the formation.