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March-April 2014

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From the Editor

As I write this, we are deep into the cold and gray of winter here in the mid-Atlantic. The days are short (though getting longer!), frigid temperatures have a solid grip on most of the country, and the warm days of summer seem very far away. But some lucky folks out there aren't quite as cold as the rest of us. These people live in the most moderate climates around the world and enjoy warm (but not too warm) and sunny weather year-round. Where are these places, you might ask? Ed Darack can tell you.

As a follow-up to his article in the November/December 2013 issue of the magazine, in which he detailed the worst weather in the world, Darack now takes a close look at the world's best weather. He determined the best weather in the world using a detailed rubric covering the temperature, humidity, and cloud cover at which humans have been shown to thrive. Some of the locales he describes won't surprise you—such as San Diego, California, which is known to have some of the best weather in the world—but others will, including a location in Chile, which also boasts some pretty inhospitable weather in Patagonia.

Of course, not everyone will agree that the ideal weather features year-round moderate temperatures. There certainly are those who enjoy the beauty of the four seasons and the drama of storms. One of these people, it seems, was renowned American painter Charles E. Burchfield. A resident of Ohio, Burchfield's paintings are suffused with the weather phenomena that highlighted his world, and the scenes he captures with his paintbrush give us a rare opportunity to appreciate weather on a more artistic level. In this issue, we run a graphical essay of his paintings that, when taken together, provide an amazing and breathtaking picture of his local climate.

While we might know a fair amount about weather in locations such as Ohio—through images like Burchfield's, if not through actual weather data—there are some places that, to date, have been out of our reach as we try to learn more about their climatology. One such place is Mars. In this issue, we take a look at NASA's new mission to learn more about the environment on Mars, including the weather. The rover Curiosity is fully equipped with a host of instruments to help us learn more about the red planet's climate, and one year into the mission, scientists are already gathering data that will give us a better overall picture of what conditions there are like.

Finally, when one thinks about the Koran, weather is not exactly the first thing that comes to mind. But as Randy Cerveny discovers, the Koran is full of hints about how weather affected some of the major battles of Islam, and, as with major events throughout history, the effects can be major and irreversible.

I hope you enjoy this issue of Weatherwise. As always, we welcome feedback from readers!

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