Currents Archive

Motel damage in Salyersville, KY Bob Henson | March 20, 2012 • The roles played by La Niña and the Arctic Oscillation in the temperature dramas of the last two U.S. winters were the topic of my last post. Now let's talk tornadoes. It was unusually cold in 2010–11, but the spring of 2011 brought multiple rounds of fierce tornadoes, inflicting the most death and damage seen in many decades.
Winter scene from Sawhill Ponds, Boulder County, Colorado Bob Henson | March 14, 2012 • This final week of winter will be exceptionally warm across most of the lower 48 states. That makes an interesting coda to a winter strangely devoid of snow and bitter cold. The usual scapegoats for weird U.S. winters are El Niño and La Niña. But there’s much more behind seasonal climate, as the last two winters demonstrate.
Sawhill Pond in winter. Margaret LeMone | February 16, 2012  • As I write this, the Boulder winds sound indistinguishable from a car driving by our house. But it is another sound—the sound of ice—that is the inspiration for this post. The ice on ponds and lakes.
UCAR Magazine
Group photo of PACUR members at Florida State University, 2011 Greg Hakim and Jack Fellows | February 7, 2012  •  The President’s Advisory Committee on University Relations (PACUR, formerly known as the University Relations Committee) was created in 1974 to help the UCAR president ensure effective communication and strengthen relations between UCAR and its member institutions. The focus of this article is to summarize PACUR’s activities and to solicit comments from members on what PACUR might do in the future on behalf of the members.
UCAR Magazine February 8, 2012  •  Atmospheric carbon dioxide has been increasing fairly steadily for decades, but methane has accumulated at a more erratic pace. The increase virtually stalled for much of the last decade before resuming after 2007.
Stack of 100 dollar bills February 6, 2012 • The year 2011 was painful for the reinsurance industry—the companies that insure other insurance companies against especially big losses—thanks to the tsunami in Japan, earthquakes in New Zealand, floods in Australia and the U.S. Midwest, and tornadoes, drought, and wildfires in the United States. Insured losses for the first half of 2011 were already five times higher than average since 2001, with economic losses totaling $265 billion, according to reinsurance giant Munich Re.
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.