Archive for Category: "Climate"

14 compelling graphics from new National Climate Assessment

14 compelling graphics from new National Climate Assessment

The federal government’s new National Climate Assessment paints a grim portrait of climate change’s impacts on the United States. The 841-page report is full of graphics explaining how the rise of greenhouse gas emissions is already transforming the American West and the rest of the country. I’ve extracted the 14 images that I found most […]

Deep brain freeze: visualizing the polar vortex

Deep brain freeze: visualizing the polar vortex

For the second afternoon in a row, a potent cold front has swept across Denver, marking the return of a deep freeze for much of the country. Yesterday, my weather station recorded a 32-degree drop in less than 90 minutes (here’s a chart). This latest cold snap is sure to revive talk about the polar […]

Climate change and trends in the American West’s snowpack

Climate change and trends in the American West’s snowpack

Like anglers who can dutifully pinpoint the location of hotspots, winter sports enthusiasts know when and where to find the best snow. When conditions change in the slightest—whether in temperature, base depth, or type of snow—devotees take note. But it can be hard to tell whether conditions on the local slopes in a given season […]

Snow jobs: America’s $12 billion winter sports economy and climate change

Snow jobs: America’s $12 billion winter sports economy and climate change

Full disclosure: I love to ski and snowboard, so before reading further, you should know that I’m more of a passionate participant than neutral analyst of America’s snow sports industry. But whether you’re a ski bum, X Games aspirant, or disinterested flatlander, it’s undeniable that a ton of money is changing hands when it comes […]

Video: mountain species, climate change, and the escalator effect

Video: mountain species, climate change, and the escalator effect

Mountains are especially vulnerable to climate change, so scientists are keeping a close watch on species such as the American pika (Ochotona princeps). This small mammal, which resembles a hamster and is a relative of the rabbit, lives in alpine and subalpine terrain across Western North America. Although relatively widespread and usually found in protected […]

Climate context for Colorado floods: heavy precipitation, wildfires are on the rise

Climate context for Colorado floods: heavy precipitation, wildfires are on the rise

The heavy rains and flooding here in Colorado have been off the charts, even prompting the National Weather Service to describe the precipitation as “biblical” in its proportions. At Discover Magazine, Tom Yulsman reports that areas with the highest rainfall totals have experienced a 1,000-year event–a storm that’s expected to occur once a millennium. Check […]

2012 was hottest year on record for U.S.

2012 was hottest year on record for U.S.

No doubt about it: 2012 was toasty. Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2012 was not only the warmest on record for the lower 48 since 1895 but also the second worst on a measure known as the Climate Extremes Index, which includes factors such as temperature anomalies, drought patterns, and the […]

Wind and ocean currents visualized

Wind and ocean currents visualized

You may not need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, but the data that climate researchers collect can certainly deliver some beautiful visualizations of the currents constantly swirling in the skies and oceans. Witness the Perpetual Ocean, a project of NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio. This video, shown below, depicts the flow of […]

Animation of global warming since 1880

Animation of global warming since 1880

NASA has produced a fascinating animation showing how global temperatures have been changing since the late 19th century. You can really see things heat up starting in the 1970s. 2011 was the 5th warmest year on record, as NASA’s James Hanson noted: “We know the planet is absorbing more energy than it is emitting . […]