February 26, 2014
The most recent budget showdown has just barely faded over the horizon. The president and Congress can finally talk about something that doesn’t involve the contentious issue of doling out funding for the government to stay open and operating. We can finally get back to focusing on setting policy – or can we?
February 21, 2014
Between the Arctic conditions and what felt like hurricane-force winds, Chicago was not the most enjoyable place to be in February. But did we let that dampen our spirits while attending the AAAS Annual Meeting? Absolutely not.
February 12, 2014
Every year, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) draws thousands of individuals from across the globe to their annual meeting. This year, the event will be held in the Windy City this Thursday, 13 February through Monday, 17 February. The temperature forecast looks to be in the teens. Brrrr.
February 10, 2014
Residing in a state that is about as blue as they come, I had reservations that participating in AGU’s Climate Science Day to visit offices of my Massachusetts congressional delegation would involve little more than preaching to the choir. Although that was mostly true, the staffers we met did sincerely seem to appreciate the visit. Still more rewarding for me, I was paired with a New Hampshire scientist and got to tag along on his visits to a mixed delegation. Well, it is mixed in terms of political parties, but, curiously, all four of NH’s senators and representatives are women. What’s that got to do with climate change science?
February 3, 2014
Now that sufficient time has passed to digest the President’s speech, it’s time to figure out how our State of the Union wish list fared. Below are our three big points we wanted to see mentioned, and the president’s response, if any.
January 28, 2014
Every January, the president of the United States appears before Congress and the nation to reflect on the previous year and to set forth his agenda for the next 365 days. As President Obama embarks on his fifth State of the Union, the American Geophysical Union has put together a list of critical issues that should be included in tonight’s address.
January 24, 2014
The safe confines of my coffee shop and flashing terminal screen became the mainstay during my doctoral studies at Purdue University. As a computational modeler you spend days buried under lines of code trying to find a bug that you think exists somewhere between line 200 and 1000. I loved every minute of it, especially the times when you had a breakthrough, which could be as simple as watching the climate model produce output without crashing. I walked away from this world in August to head to Capitol Hill as a Congressional Science Fellow sponsored by the American Geophysical Union.
January 22, 2014
Last week, Washington rejoiced as Congress passed and the president signed a bill that funds the entire Federal government through September 30, 2014. As there is with every bill whose magnitude and scope is so far-reaching, there are winners and losers.
January 17, 2014
From extreme partisanship in Congress and a historic typhoon to political climate change battles and the search for habitable planets, 2013 was never short of science policy news. In a year full of ups and downs for the Earth and space science research community, AGU Public Affairs has compiled a list of the top five Earth and space science policy stories from 2013.
January 13, 2014
Every science has its own language and terms, and meteorology has more than most. It’s strange though how every now and then, a scientific term you’d only hear if you were listening to a group of meteorologists discuss weather gets turned into a water cooler topic. In 2012, it was the term DERECHO (dah-ray show), when one came through the mid-Atlantic (and knocked down a million trees and power lines from Ohio all the way to the Eastern Shore of Maryland).
Now, the polar vortex has gotten its 15 minutes of fame. The cold outbreak at the beginning of the year was certainly one of the more severe chills in a couple of decades, but by no means as bad as what we saw during several winters in the1970′s and 1980′s. In the past few days I’ve seen images on TV news of snow, frozen lakes, and high winds that were labeled as the polar vortex, but they were wrong. The polar vortex is high above the surface and what you were seeing in those news reports was, (wait for it), snow, frozen lakes, and high winds!
While my fellow meteorologists have cringed as the public tries to make sense of this new word in the public’s weather dictionary, I think it’s a wonderful teaching moment. Albert Einstein said that science should be made as simple as possible, but no more so, and I cannot accurately explain the polar vortex in one sentence (or even one paragraph), but I can do it in three or four. So, if you will bear with me, I promise it will be quite interesting and you’ll never look at a TV weather report the same again!