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Features

Tsunamis from the sky: Can meteotsunamis be forecast?

The Great Lakes, along with the U.S. East Coast, the Mediterranean, Japan and many other parts of the world, have a long history of mysterious large waves striking unsuspecting coastlines. Such waves have characteristics similar to tsunamis triggered by earthquakes or landslides. Only recently, however, have scientists unraveled how a storm can create and propagate these far-traveling waves — called meteorological tsunamis or meteotsunamis. 

19 Feb 2014

A history of tsunami-like waves on the Great Lakes

Severe and deadly seiche events are rare on the Great Lakes. In the last century, about 10 major waves have hit the shores of the Great Lakes, but smaller anomalous waves occur much more frequently. Many of the deadliest have occurred on Lake Michigan, but Lakes Superior, Huron and Erie have also experienced them. In addition to the June 26, 1954, event, some others were: 

18 Feb 2014

A tsunami by many other names

Storm-triggered waves have been recognized and recorded around the world, including the U.S. where, in addition to the Great Lakes, they have occurred in New England, on the West Coast and on the Gulf Coast. In some parts of the world, they are common enough to have special names. In Croatia, the phenomenon is called Šćiga; in Malta, it is Milghuba; in Spain, Rissaga; in Japan, Abiki; and in Finland, Seebär. Scientists everywhere call them meteorological tsunamis, or meteotsunamis. Here are a few notable occurrences:

18 Feb 2014

2013 Front Range Flooding: An Ecological Perspective

The 2013 Colorado floods may have been a record-setting event in human terms, but scientists and resource managers emphasize that what happened along the Front Range was a natural occurrence.

26 Jan 2014

When water, gravity and geology collide: Firsthand observations of the impacts of the 2013 Colorado floods

Around almost every bend in the road on our tour of the Colorado Front Range and points downstream in the weeks after the September floods, the physical devastation confronted us like a punch in the gut. Even though we had all seen graphic images on the news, observing the destruction firsthand, especially from a geologic perspective, was truly stunning and humbling.

21 Jan 2014

Disaster strikes along Colorado's Front Range

In early September last year, the weather along Colorado’s Front Range, the urbanized corridor paralleling the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, swung from one extreme to another. The first week of the month was exceptionally hot and dry, with high temperatures averaging 7 to 9 degrees Celsius above normal. For three days in a row, the city of Denver matched or exceeded its record high temperatures, according to National Weather Service (NWS) data.

20 Jan 2014

Climate, terroir, and wine: What matters most in producing a great wine?

Weather and climate have played decisive roles throughout human existence — where and how cultures developed, where they migrated and even how some died out. The most successful early civilizations were those that developed strong agrarian systems based on what crops were most compatible with the climate. If conditions changed for one reason or another, people migrated to areas with a more suitable environment to grow a certain crop or raise specific animals.

09 Jan 2014

Travels in Geology: Antarctica: Following in the footsteps of giants

In fall 2012, when I told friends and colleagues that I was heading south for a few weeks, they assumed that I, like many other northeasterners, was going to Florida or the Bahamas for a break from winter weather. Instead, I was headed to the iciest and southernmost place on Earth: Antarctica.

02 Jan 2014

Ship life

Perhaps the most common question I’ve gotten after returning from my trip is, “Did you get sea sick?” The answer is yes, but I wasn’t miserable. And in truth, very few individuals missed out on any of the shore excursions because they didn’t feel well.

02 Jan 2014

Getting there and getting around in Antarctica

Traveling to Antarctica pretty much requires being part of an organized tour, something tens of thousands of people do each year. We went on a trip arranged by the Geological Society of America and Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris. If you aren’t lucky enough to take a scientific tour, there are plenty of more traditional tours that will get you there. Most depart from Argentina, but some go through the Falkland Islands as well as Australia and New Zealand.

02 Jan 2014

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