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July/August 2008

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From the Editor

Americans ‘fed up’ with high energy prices!” “Inflation surges on energy costs!” “Pain at the pump!” People in the United States and around the globe are feeling the pinch of rising oil and other energy costs more than ever this summer, and the growing urgency to find a solution to the increasing cost of powering our busy lives is reflected in newspaper headlines everywhere. It seems like there is a new study or factoid about domestic or global energy policy every day, and the news is rarely good.  

Many people are doing their part to help the environment—and their wallets—by buying compact fluorescent bulbs or installing solar panels on their roofs. Meanwhile, policymakers and  energy experts are working to find alternative energy sources that will provide power on a larger scale. In this issue of Weatherwise, we look at one of these alternative energy sources: wind power. On average, the Earth has enough power from the wind to meet the world’s electricity needs 35 times over. The problem is harnessing that power and coming up with ways to handle swings in the wind’s strength.

In “Wind Power: The Ultimate Renewable Energy Source,”  Jan Null and Cristina Archer examine some of the challenges facing efforts at large-scale implementation of wind power. They argue that because of its vast potential and the fact that it is not impacted by world stock markets or political instability, its benefits far outweigh its problems.

Meanwhile, with summer kicking into high gear, the July/August issue of Weatherwise is getting into the spirit with articles that celebrate the season. “Monsoon Mysteries in America’s Southwest” by Gregory McNamee takes a look at the science and  folklore behind one of the more impressive phenomena in the United States—the annual Southwestern monsoon. From spectacular thunderstorms to devastating floods, the monsoon brings it all, and we get to go along for the ride.

In addition, for everyone out there who equates summer with baseball, this issue features an interview with Dave Mellor, the Director of Grounds at Fenway Park in Boston. If you ever wanted to learn about how to mow a sock pattern in your lawn, he can tell you—but don’t ask him  how to mow the Yankee logo in your lawn.

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