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“Why We Chase Storms”

June 5, 2013

Category: A Closer Look

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The devastation caused by the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma has generated controversy and curiosity about storm chasers—those who follow deadly weather for the sake of science, fascination or curiosity.

San Francisco State meteorology professor John Monteverdi is one of them. The atmospheric scientist just returned from the field where he has been observing one of nature’s most unforgiving environments.

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Spring Fashion Tip: What goes with La Niña?

March 3, 2011

Category: A Closer Look

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A NOAA satellite image from Jan. 3, 2011, shows below normal sea-surface temperatures near the equator. (Red-warmest; dark blue-coolest.)

Cool waters in eastern Pacific usually portend drier (but not in north), chillier weather for California, CSU scientists report

By Sean Kearns, CSU Public Affairs

Before updating my spring wardrobe to go with this year’s La Niña weather cycle, I asked a meteorologist, “Do I go for sweaters or shorts?

“Definitely sweaters,” Steve LaDochy told me. A geography professor at California State University, Los Angeles, he bases his advice on what he calls “one of the best predictors of California temperatures”: the temperature of the surface waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean. Read more »

When tornados touch down – in California?

March 2, 2011

Category: A Closer Look

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With sights on supercell thunderstorms,

SFSU’s Monteverdi tracks twisters

Supercell storm near Limon, Colo., 2005 (photo by J. Monteverdi)

By Sean Kearns, CSU Public Affairs

John Monteverdi enjoys his whirlwind schedule.John Monteverdi, SFSU meteorology professor

Every year, as soon as spring term ends at San Francisco State, he packs up and heads out on his annual tornado safari – which has taken him throughout Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma and beyond in search of supercell thunderstorms.

(About 10 percent of supercells will trigger the sequence of cascading events that spawns a tornado.)

Sometimes, Monteverdi heads out in a major hurry, trying to catch up to a sudden supercell sighting in California.

Wait a minute. Tornados in California? Read more »


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