Wunderground.com’s Jeff Masters: From ‘Mad Scientist Club’ to Leading Internet Site

ANN ARBOR, MI. — When Jeff Masters was 10, he helped launch the “mad scientist club” in his Birmingham, Michigan, school, writing a 100-page thesis based on observations from his telescope.

By the time he was 12, he was diligently tracking the strength of wind gusts from a weather station he had set up in his backyard. The Midwest’s extremely variable climate conditions intrigued him. “I was always interested in weather,” he says.

It’s the kind of story sure to sound familiar to many of today’s meteorologists, weathercasters … and just plain “weather geeks,” a term they use endearingly of course: Weather gets into their blood early in life, and it’s something they take with them long into their careers, whether specifically weather-related or not.

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Climate Experts, Statisticians, Programmers Meet in England on Temperature Records

An international group of 80 climate scientists, statisticians, and computer programmers recently gathered in Exeter, England, to discuss how to expand and improve surface temperature data (also see earlier Forum article).

The conference, titled “Creating Surface Temperature Datasets to Meet 21st Century Challenges,” took place September 7-9 and brought together researchers from NOAA’s National Climate Data Center (NCDC), the Hadley MET office, and the World Meteorological Organization, and also some independent scientists and interested parties. It focused on creating a plan to assemble all the world’s temperature records into a new database that would be fully and transparently documented and available for the public to access.

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23/32 ... Mirror Opposites in More Ways Than One

California Initiative Likely to be Focus Of Climate Interest Come Election Day

Eyes will be on California voters on November climate bill vote.

For those who want legislative action on climate change, the past year delivered a one-two punch against progress. First there was Copenhagen, full of promise but deflated by economic worries and the familiar rift between developed and developing countries. Then, this past summer, the U.S. Senate abandoned work on a comprehensive energy bill and its cap-and-trade climate provisions.

But, another battle looms. In California, the state’s hallmark climate legislation, The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, faces suspension by a ballot measure backed almost entirely by the fossil fuel industry — primarily Texas oil companies Valero and Tesoro.

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Where the Action Is: Climate Goes Local; Cities, Local Governments Confront Global Challenge

The world’s metropolises, with more than half the world population, could hold key to global climate progress.

Humans have officially made their home in the concrete jungle. Ours is the first generation in which most of the world’s population lives in cities.

With 6 billion people on the planet, and 2 billion more expected within 20 years, the race to our cities and the slums and vast sprawl surrounding some of them will only accelerate. Already, our metropolises — 21 already have populations of 10 million or more — consume about three-quarters of the world’s energy, releasing vast quantities of the greenhouse gases (GHGs) that warm the planet.

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Keeping Media Eyes Wide Open On Carbon Capture and Sequestration

The “Holy Grail” of carbon reduction. A silver bullet to help solve the climate crisis and at the same time help protect politically important mining jobs in critical swing states like West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia.

The advanced billing and expectations for “clean coal” have been anything but modest.

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An Alternative Land Temperature Record May Help Allay Critics’ Data Concerns

Critics often complain that the three major surface temperature records — NASA’s GISTemp, the University of East Anglia’s HadCRUT, and NOAA’s National Climate Data Center record — all rely on most of the same underlying station data, provided through the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN). And therefore that they’re all dependent on, and vulnerable to, shortcomings in GHCN.

GHCN is comprised of around 7,000 station records at 4,500 different locations. The station records span the period from 1700 to present. GHCN contains a well-enough distributed sample of stations after 1880 to allow a reconstruction of global temperature.

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“Science Friday”‘s Ira Flatow: Selling Science by Weekly Radio

Growing up on Long Island, New York, Ira Flatow enjoyed dabbling with television sets and playing with electronics like ham radios.

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Flatow: Finding a job you love sure beats having to work.

“I just wanted to know how things worked,” he says. He thought a career in engineering would satisfy his desire to learn more about the basic mechanics of everyday life. But after graduating in 1971 at age 22 with an engineering degree from the State University of New York in Buffalo, he found that he wanted more. Though accepted to graduate school for city planning and intrigued by the idea of engineering a city, he also applied for a job at a public radio station. “I thought I would give it a year and see what happens,” returning to school if it wasn’t appealing, he says now. “I stayed there forever.”

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