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Weather Wizards: Inside the Ongoing Effort to Master Mother Nature

Can science fight climate change by tinkering with the weather?

Last month, Cynthia Barnett, an unostentatious workhorse of an environmental journalist with an incredible track record for nailing issues of water security, released a new book that’s a bit of a departure from her previous works. Entitled Rain: A Natural and Cultural History, the tome is a curious exploration, not just of the science of rain, but what it means to us as a species on an emotive and anthropological level. A meditative and engrossing work of ranging non-fiction, peppered with fascinating anecdotes and solid insights, one of the most interesting sections of the book is on the little-known phenomenon of weather manipulation. Throughout history, people have sought to control their environment, and attempts to change the weather have come along with many of our breakthroughs in science and technology. And while the pursuit can claim a couple of partial successes, weather alteration is mostly characterized by a string of crazy failures and dangerous, unworkable ideas.

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Hurricane Katrina struck just as I had begun my last year in architectural school at Tulane in New Orleans. Charity Hospital had served impoverished New Orleans residents for more than 80 years. It was first built in the 1920s with fully operable windows, but when the hospital underwent mechanical system retrofitting years ago, the windows were sealed shut. A mechanical ventilation system was substituted for fresh air. The system failed during the storm, internal temperatures rose to over 100 degrees, and the building was subsequently evacuated. Taking more than 1,000 lives and forever changing the city, the hurricane profoundly demonstrated how fragile our healthcare buildings are.

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Let’s Name Hurricanes After Congressional Climate Deniers

Extreme weather, supercharged by climate change, has been pounding the U.S. In 2012, there were 11 climate disasters that cost more than $1...

Extreme weather, supercharged by climate change, has been pounding the U.S. In 2012, there were 11 climate disasters that cost more than $1 billion each, according to NOAA. And as I write this, Yosemite—where modern environmentalism was arguably born—is on fire.

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NASA Creates Awesome iPad App for Science Education

The new "Visualization Explorer" app takes NASA's trove of satellite data and brings it to life in a free app.


The space shuttle program may be over, but NASA's ability to inspire the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math experts is as strong as ever. On Tuesday they released a free iPad app, the Visualization Explorer, which "allows users to easily interact with extraordinary images, video, and information about NASA's latest earth science research."

Designed by media specialists at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, the app's incredible visuals come from computer images based on data captured by NASA's satellites. The app has the potential to make teaching and learning about science a lot cooler. Imagine how instead of simply reading about topics like "climate change, aerosols, glaciers, hurricanes, volcanoes and wildfire" in a textbook, students with access to the app can explore the data-based visualizations and see those topics truly brought to life.

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Hurricane Season 2010: The Five Minute Video

Watch the entire (surprisingly active) 2010 hurricane season in under five minutes.

Believe it or not, the 2010 hurricane season was actually a doozy. There may not have been that many big, newsworthy storms that struck land, but 2010 tied for the third most active hurricane season in recorded history, and it was little more than a fluke that there wasn't more damage or threat on land.

Take a look at Climate Central's handy scorecard:

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