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January-February 2017

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From the Editor

Although Weatherwise is a magazine first and foremost about weather, we could not adequately cover weather without also discussing climate. And by extension, we could not adequately cover weather or climate without discussing the growing specter of climate change. There are times when Weatherwise deliberately focuses on climate change, and there are times when we deliberately do not. However, as warming accelerates and the feeling of urgency over the impacts it is having on our environment grows, the topic of climate change has come to infuse many of our articles.

This issue provides a good example of the inescapability of climate change. Each of the three features, to a greater or lesser degree, discusses climate change. In “California's Stressed Water System: A Primer,” Jan Null gives us a great background on how water has traditionally been managed in the Golden State. Suffering from a lack of water under even the best of circumstances, California's ever-growing population, along with its increasing reliance on thirsty agriculture, have put the ongoing drought under a microscope. Many attribute the current drought to global warming, and most future climate scenarios predict more such droughts going forward. Thus, while this article is on its surface simply about California's water system, the current stresses on the system are inextricably linked to climate-change–induced drought.

Meanwhile, in “The Vedur of Iceland,” Walter Lyons takes us on a journey through Iceland from a weather aficionado's point of view. Some of his more surprising pieces of information include the fact that there is little actual ice in Iceland (and less each year as glaciers melt in our changing climate); the fact that sandstorms are a fascinating fact of life in this green country; and, finally, the fact that the agricultural landscape of the country is changing as warmer weather allows farmers to grow more numerous and more diverse crops than ever before.

Finally, in “Is Global Warming Good, or was Arrhenius Erroneous?” Stanley David Gedzelman discusses how an early 20th century chemist, Svante Arrhenius, was the first to attribute future global warming to increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. However, he believed global warming would actually be a good thing for the globe, which had only recently begun to recover from the latest ice age during his lifetime.

As we go forward, I have no doubt that global warming will be an increasing focus in Weatherwise. And while the impacts of a warming climate on our environment are certainly negative, more attention to this topic can only be positive.       

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