The Puerto Rican Trees That Can Stand Up to Hurricanes

In El Yunque, the Tropical Rainforest Has Evolved to Shed Its Limbs to the Wind—But Stay Upright

El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico is one of the jewels of the United States system of national forests—and its only tropical rainforest. When talking about El Yunque, forest ecologist Jess Zimmerman can’t help describing what happened here during hurricane season last year: “First, we had Hurricane Irma. I call that one a ‘drive by.’ It wasn’t so bad, and it got us all ready for Hurricane Maria, which went the length of the island. After Maria, if you looked out the window here, there wasn’t a leaf on …

The Weather Scientists Who Can Forecast a National Security Threat

The Federal Air Resources Lab Quietly Helps Prevent Plane Crashes and Chemical Attacks

You’ve probably never heard of the Air Resources Laboratory. I hadn’t until two years ago, when I was hired to preserve a trove of oral histories recorded in the early …

America’s Coasts Can Already Taste the Danger of Rising Sea Levels

High Tides and Record Flooding Are Just the Rehearsal for a Troubling Future

In June 2009, the coming of summer brought beautiful sunny days up and down the eastern seaboard of the U.S. But then something weird, almost creepy, happened in the mid-Atlantic …

Can Rain Hold Us Hostage?

I Barely Made It Through England's Wettest Year. Now El Niño Looms Over My California Dream.

We’ve bought sand bags at Home Depot, installed new gutters, and patched up the roof of our house in Los Angeles. We’ve asked a plumber to check our industrial-grade sump …

The Magic of Squeezing Water Out of the Sky

A Hundred Years Ago, Charles Hatfield Cashed in on America’s Weakness for Quick Fixes—Even if They Seem Too Good to Be True

In the 1956 film The Rainmaker, a slick-talking stranger played by Burt Lancaster shows up in a drought-stricken town. Clad in a black cowboy hat and red neckerchief, he woos …

When Americans Understood That Weather Was Connected to Larger Forces

Two Hundred Years After New England's First Great Hurricane, We Ask Very Different Questions About the Nature of Storms

Two hundred years ago this week, the Great September Gale struck New England. The “gale” swamped the coastlines of five states with storm surges up to 15 feet. It reduced …