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 1990s. Those audio cassettes held a history of hidden science, full of amazing stories about nuclear explosions, air pollution, and volcanoes. I encountered scientists whose research had strengthened national security, improved emergency response, and protected human health for almost 70 years—with barely any credit or acclaim.

And with the lab now under threat of budget cuts, it’s all the more …