Sunshine Recorder

Link: Before Air-Conditioning

Exactly what year it was I can no longer recall—probably 1927 or ’28—there was an extraordinarily hot September, which hung on even after school had started and we were back from our Rockaway Beach bungalow. Every window in New York was open, and on the streets venders manning little carts chopped ice and sprinkled colored sugar over mounds of it for a couple of pennies. We kids would jump onto the back steps of the slow-moving, horse-drawn ice wagons and steal a chip or two; the ice smelled vaguely of manure but cooled palm and tongue.

People on West 110th Street, where I lived, were a little too bourgeois to sit out on their fire escapes, but around the corner on 111th and farther uptown mattresses were put out as night fell, and whole families lay on those iron balconies in their underwear.

Even through the nights, the pall of heat never broke. With a couple of other kids, I would go across 110th to the Park and walk among the hundreds of people, singles and families, who slept on the grass, next to their big alarm clocks, which set up a mild cacophony of the seconds passing, one clock’s ticks syncopating with another’s. Babies cried in the darkness, men’s deep voices murmured, and a woman let out an occasional high laugh beside the lake. I can recall only white people spread out on the grass; Harlem began above 116th Street then.

Later on, in the Depression thirties, the summers seemed even hotter. Out West, it was the time of the red sun and the dust storms, when whole desiccated farms blew away and sent the Okies, whom Steinbeck immortalized, out on their desperate treks toward the Pacific. My father had a small coat factory on Thirty-ninth Street then, with about a dozen men working sewing machines. Just to watch them handling thick woollen winter coats in that heat was, for me, a torture. The cutters were on piecework, paid by the number of seams they finished, so their lunch break was short—fifteen or twenty minutes. They brought their own food: bunches of radishes, a tomato perhaps, cucumbers, and a jar of thick sour cream, which went into a bowl they kept under the machines. A small loaf of pumpernickel also materialized, which they tore apart and used as a spoon to scoop up the cream and vegetables.

Storms by Mitch Dobrowner

Landscape photographers count ourselves lucky to be in the right place at the right time if a storm system is moving through — but I wanted to actively pursue these events. Since storms are a process (not a thing) I needed a guide. I soon connected with Roger Hill (regarded as the most experienced storm-chaser in the world); he introduced me to Tornado Alley and the Great Plains of the United States. In July 2009 Roger and I tracked a severe weather system for nine hours — from its formation outside of Sturgis, South Dakota, through Badlands National Park and into Valentine, Nebraska. Eventually we stopped in a field outside of Valentine, and there we stood in awe of the towering supercell (a thunderstorm with a deep rotating updraft) which was building with intake wind gusts of 60mph. It was like standing next to a 65,000-foot-high vacuum cleaner. It was unlike anything I had seen before in my life; the formation of the supercell had an ominous presence and power that I had never witnessed or experienced before. I remember turning to Roger, who was standing next to me, and saying, ‘what the ****… you have to be kidding me’. It was only the second day of my “experiment” in shooting storms, but I knew without a doubt that this experiment would become an important project to me. Words are inadequate to describe the experience of photographing this immense power and beauty. And the most exciting part is with each trip I really don’t know what to expect. But now I see these storms as living, breathing things. They are born when the conditions are right, they gain strength as they grow, they fight against their environment to stay alive, they change form as they age… and eventually they die. They take on so many different aspects, personalities and faces; I’m in awe watching them. These storms are amazing sights to witness…. and I’m just happy to be there—shot or no shot; it’s watching Mother Nature at her finest. My only hope my images can do justice to these amazing phenomenona of nature. 

[Editor’s note: You’ll discover a lot more detail when you look at these images in our high-resolution slide show.]

(Source: sunrec)


1 in 8 Chance of Catastrophic Solar Megastorm by 2020
The Earth has a roughly 12 percent chance of experiencing an enormous  megaflare erupting from the sun in the next decade. This event could  potentially cause trillions of dollars’ worth of damage and take up to a  decade to recover from.
Such an extreme event is considered to be relatively rare. The last  gigantic solar storm, known as the Carrington Event, occurred more than  150 years ago and was the most powerful such event in recorded history.
That a rival to this event might have a greater than 10 percent  chance of happening in the next 10 years was surprising to space  physicist Pete Riley, senior scientist at Predictive Science in San Diego, California, who published the estimate in Space Weather on Feb. 23.
The potential collateral damage in the U.S. of a Carrington-type  solar storm might be between $1 trillion and $2 trillion in the first  year alone, with full recovery taking an estimated four to 10 years,  according to a 2008 report from the National Research Council.
“A longer-term outage would likely include, for example, disruption  of the transportation, communication, banking, and finance systems, and  government services; the breakdown of the distribution of potable water  owing to pump failure; and the loss of perishable foods and medications  because of lack of refrigeration,” the NRC report said.
“It’s like being able to see a cyclone coming but not knowing the  wind speed until it hits your boat 50 miles off the coast,” Rutledge  said.

1 in 8 Chance of Catastrophic Solar Megastorm by 2020

The Earth has a roughly 12 percent chance of experiencing an enormous megaflare erupting from the sun in the next decade. This event could potentially cause trillions of dollars’ worth of damage and take up to a decade to recover from.

Such an extreme event is considered to be relatively rare. The last gigantic solar storm, known as the Carrington Event, occurred more than 150 years ago and was the most powerful such event in recorded history.

That a rival to this event might have a greater than 10 percent chance of happening in the next 10 years was surprising to space physicist Pete Riley, senior scientist at Predictive Science in San Diego, California, who published the estimate in Space Weather on Feb. 23.

The potential collateral damage in the U.S. of a Carrington-type solar storm might be between $1 trillion and $2 trillion in the first year alone, with full recovery taking an estimated four to 10 years, according to a 2008 report from the National Research Council.

“A longer-term outage would likely include, for example, disruption of the transportation, communication, banking, and finance systems, and government services; the breakdown of the distribution of potable water owing to pump failure; and the loss of perishable foods and medications because of lack of refrigeration,” the NRC report said.

“It’s like being able to see a cyclone coming but not knowing the wind speed until it hits your boat 50 miles off the coast,” Rutledge said.

Storms by Mitch Dobrowner

Landscape photographers count ourselves lucky to be in the right place at the right time if a storm system is moving through — but I wanted to actively pursue these events. Since storms are a process (not a thing) I needed a guide. I soon connected with Roger Hill (regarded as the most experienced storm-chaser in the world); he introduced me to Tornado Alley and the Great Plains of the United States. In July 2009 Roger and I tracked a severe weather system for nine hours — from its formation outside of Sturgis, South Dakota, through Badlands National Park and into Valentine, Nebraska. Eventually we stopped in a field outside of Valentine, and there we stood in awe of the towering supercell (a thunderstorm with a deep rotating updraft) which was building with intake wind gusts of 60mph. It was like standing next to a 65,000-foot-high vacuum cleaner. It was unlike anything I had seen before in my life; the formation of the supercell had an ominous presence and power that I had never witnessed or experienced before. I remember turning to Roger, who was standing next to me, and saying, ‘what the ****… you have to be kidding me’. It was only the second day of my “experiment” in shooting storms, but I knew without a doubt that this experiment would become an important project to me. Words are inadequate to describe the experience of photographing this immense power and beauty. And the most exciting part is with each trip I really don’t know what to expect. But now I see these storms as living, breathing things. They are born when the conditions are right, they gain strength as they grow, they fight against their environment to stay alive, they change form as they age… and eventually they die. They take on so many different aspects, personalities and faces; I’m in awe watching them. These storms are amazing sights to witness…. and I’m just happy to be there—shot or no shot; it’s watching Mother Nature at her finest. My only hope my images can do justice to these amazing phenomenona of nature. 

[Editor’s note: You’ll discover a lot more detail when you look at these images in our high-resolution slide show.]

Link: Doctor’s Warn Climate Change is “Greatest Threat to Public Health”

Medical experts have urged policy makers to take concrete steps to tackle climate change, warning that failure to do so poses an immediate, grave and escalating threat to the health and security of billions of people around the globe. More than 100 medical and military professionals, including Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of council at the British Medical Association and Lord Michael Jay, chairman of medical relief charity Merlin, yesterday backed a statement declaring climate change the greatest current threat to public health. The statement outlines how rising temperatures and weather instability will lead to more frequent and extreme weather events, loss of habitat and habitation, water and food shortages, the spread of diseases, ecosystem collapse, and threats to livelihood, potentially triggering mass migration and conflict within and between countries. It also warns that humanitarian crises will impact on military resources and that the human and economic cost of climate impacts “will be enormous”.