Category Archives: Weather History

Lecture – The Artist as Weatherman: Hans Haacke’s Critical Meteorology

http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/audio-video/audio/haacke-tyson.html

The Artist as Weatherman: Hans Haacke’s Critical Meteorology

John A. Tyson, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow, National Gallery of Art. Hans Haacke (b. 1936, Cologne) is one of the leading figures of conceptual art and one of the most important political artists working today. In 2013, the Collectors Committee of the National Gallery of Art made possible the acquisition of Haacke’s Condensation Wall (1963–1966/2013), a breakthrough kinetic work from the artist’s early career. Reflecting Haacke’s involvement with the West German-based group Zero, Condensation Wall is part of a set of sculptures, includingCondensation Cube and Condensation Floor, that combine geometric shapes and organic materials to reveal physico-dynamical processes. Contemporaneous with minimal sculpture, Haacke’s work transforms the industrially fabricated containers of artists like Donald Judd and Larry Bell into barometers: depending on the conditions of the environment, the water inside condenses and evaporates into fog or “rain.” The transparent boxes frame this natural process, the gallery that displays them, and the surrounding artworks. In this lecture, delivered on December 14, 2015 as part of the Works in Progress series, John Tyson considers how Haacke has employed weather for both aesthetic and political ends, exploring the way meteorological projects, such as Condensation Wall, can heighten viewers’ awareness of the normally invisible systems at work in art institutions.

Detail of Haacke’s Condensation Wall (1963-1966/2013)

 

Tide and Current Taxi expedition

On Saturday, May 18, at dawn, SP Weather Station partnered with Marie Lorenz’s Tide and Current Taxi on a water-borne dérive in Jamaica Bay. We brought along maps of flight paths and Atlantic coast bird migration routes and, very loosely, let them guide our journey.

Marie’s blog entry gives a pretty great overview of the day.

Happy World Meteorological Day

March 23 is WMO World Meteorological Day! Celebrate by viewing the World Weather Watch photo exhibition via flickr :

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

Happy Birthday Lewis Fry Richardson

Thanks to the Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of physicist and psychologist Lewis Fry Richardson, born in Northumberland, England (1881), who was the first to apply mathematical techniques to predict the weather accurately. During WWI, Richardson served as a driver for the Friends’ Ambulance Unit in France. During the intervals between transporting wounded soldiers from the front, he manually computed the changes in pressure and wind at two points. From this information, he wrote his 1922 book, Weather Prediction by Numerical Process. The problem with his theories was that it took him about three months to predict the weather for the next 24 hours. His system did not become practical until the advent of electronic computers after World War II.

Big News Merger in the PWS World

After 17 years of aggregating data from Personal Weather Stations as an independent company, Weather Underground has been acquired by the Weather Channel.

Some  reactions…

Slate.com

“Whether  [The Weather Channel] will entirely replace its own forecasts with Weather Underground’s BestForecast is not immediately clear. The predicitions are often substantially different. Right now, for instance, Weather.com is predicting that it will be 93 degrees in my part of New York on the Fourth of July, while Weather Underground says 99.”

nytimes.com
“In an interview, David Kenny,  the chairman and chief executive of the Weather Channel Companies, praised the Weather Underground site for having a “hard-core audience” of passionate weather fans. Some of them, he admitted, have sour views of the Weather Channel, which they see as overly corporate and dependent on advertising.”

TechCrunch
” This deal will put Weather Underground’s awesome technology to use on a much bigger stage, bringing better information to a large number of people…”

This just received in the SPWS inbox:

Dear SP Weather Station Flux Factory,

As an invaluable member of our Personal Weather Station (PWS) community, I wanted you to be the first to know that Weather Underground, Inc. has become part of The Weather Channel Companies (TWCC). Your weather station data will remain an integral part of our forecast modelling, and we expect that the combined forecast technologies of the two companies will enable us to provide even more accurate custom forecasts for your station. The service that we provide PWS owners on wunderground.com will remain unchanged for now, and will only be improved in the long term.

With the increased audience reach that our union with TWCC provides, we hope to considerably expand our PWS community to further enhance the quality of our weather forecasts. With extra resources at our disposal, we will also be able to provide a greater level of support for our community members.

As always, we thank you for being part of our PWS network, and greatly appreciate all of the data you share with us. You can read my latest blog post for more information about the sale of wunderground to TWCC.

Kind regards,

Dr. Jeff Masters
Director of Meteorology

From The New Yorker, “The New Politics of Climate Change”

From “Storms Brewing” by Elizabeth Kolbert, published June 13th in The New Yorker

“….Obama’s visit to Joplin was the third that he had made in a month to the site of a weather-related disaster. In mid-May, the President met with Memphis residents who had been left homeless by the flooding of the Mississippi River, and, not long before that, he toured sections of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, that had also been flattened by a tornado. Meanwhile, even as the President was consoling the bereaved in Joplin, residents in Vermont were bailing out from record-high water levels around Lake Champlain; Texas was suffering from a near-record drought that could cost the state more than four billion dollars in agricultural losses; and officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were forecasting that the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, which formally began on June 1st, would once again be “above normal.” (The 2010 season was tied for the third most active on record.) The news from abroad was, if anything, more worrisome. Last week, the Chinese government estimated that more than four million people were having trouble finding drinking water, owing to a drought along the Yangtze River. The French agricultural minister warned that an exceptionally hot, dry spring would reduce that country’s wheat harvest. And in Colombia more than two million acres of land have been submerged after almost a year of nearly continuous rain. “Over the past ten months, we have registered five or six times more rainfall than usual,” the director of Colombia’s meteorological agency, Ricardo Lozano, said.”

Cosmic Rays May Forecast Weather!

Thanks to http://blog.modernmechanix.com/2008/08/01/cosmic-rays-may-forecast-weather/
and the March 1931 issue of Popular Science…

Haruspication

Haruspication: fortune telling (e.g. weather forecasting) using animal innards

From environmentalgraffitti.com:

Paul Smokov, an 84 year old cattle rancher from Steele, N.D., claims that he has forecasted the weather with 85% accuracy by observing the shape of pig spleens. The National Weather Service, with their millions in high tech equipment, is about 60% accurate.

Smokov may be the last pig spleen weather forecaster left in North America. The editor of the Old Farmer’s Almanac said the only other spleen reader she had come in contact with had died in Saskatchewan, Canada last year.

Smokov learned the subtle art of spleen reading from his parents, Ukranian immigrants who arrived in the US in the early 20th century. With weather being so important to farmers, and a decades long lack of electricity at the family ranch denying radio forecasts, the family kept the practice of spleen forecasting alive.

more info here and here