Is it time to invest in entrepreneurial geoengineering?

Government research and development has its limits: Time, money and bureaucracy can all hamper the timely progress of research. As a result, many federal agencies are looking to private companies to help drive new innovation and keep costs down — but it’s never that simple. Two current hot-button topics — returning humans to space and geo­engin­eer­ing — highlight a range of issues related to how private and public investment in science can coexist. Last month, we looked at NASA’s push toward privatization.

02 Aug 2010

What makes a disaster? Does this blizzard count?

Blogging on EARTH

Actually, this is a meta-blog: A blog about a blog.

Not had enough of the snow yet?

11 Feb 2010

Voices: If global warming is real, why is it snowing in DC?

Over the last week, I’ve heard a lot of people say, “If global warming is real, why is it still snowing in Washington, D.C.?”

Well, I have a response: It’s weather, not climate.

11 Feb 2010

Raindrop study splashes old assumptions

Predicting the weather has been central to human civilization since the Babylonians started studying cloud patterns in 650 B.C. The key to weather predictions is making correct assumptions. Today, instruments like Doppler radar that measure rainfall work under the assumption that raindrops fall at their terminal velocity. A new study, however, shows that some raindrops fall faster than they should, indicating rainfall instruments — and by extension, weather forecasts — may need some tweaking.

23 Jul 2009

Cityscape, 'wet regions' fueled Atlanta tornado

On March 14, 2008, at 9:38 p.m., something happened in Atlanta that had never happened in the city’s 171-year history: A tornado ripped through a 10-kilometer-long swath of the city’s downtown. The twister, with winds reaching 210 kilometers per hour, blew out skyscraper windows and stalled a major college basketball conference tournament.

23 Jun 2009

Larger raindrops may make tornadoes more likely

A huge thunderstorm was gathering above central Oklahoma on May 20, 1977. As the storm intensified, a tornado began to form and struck the ground, leaving wreckage in its path. Although the tornado itself is now well-known, the forces behind its formation are still surprisingly sketchy. Using high-resolution modeling, however, a new study reveals how some atmospheric conditions can make tornadoes more — or less — likely to form.

03 Feb 2009