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More on British and American English

March 11, 2012   Filed under Blog, Featured, Resources, Uncategorized, Writing  

In a previous post, I had given a set of the more common rules for American and British English differences. Since then, I have received comments and emails asking me about how to submit to a journal that uses a form of English different from the one that you use. I can speak for myself […]

Petterssen, Palmén and Newton, Carlson, and Lackmann

September 7, 2011   Filed under Blog, Featured, News, Resources, Uncategorized  

I am honored to have seen page proofs of Gary Lackmann’s new book Midlatitude Synoptic Meteorology: Dynamics, Analysis, and Forecasting to be published later this year by the American Meteorological Society. For this book, Gary goes back to the original meaning of the word synoptic (“forming a summary or synopsis”). Twelve chapters summarize and synthesize […]

How important is it to use “important” in your writing?

August 20, 2011   Filed under Blog, Featured, Uncategorized, Writing  

Have you read an article where the author talks about “an important process” or “the important role of another process”? Do these sort of platitudes go in one of your ears and out the other? Are you convinced by the author’s use of the word “important” that it truly is an important process? Or, do […]

Problems with the term “overrunning”

August 15, 2011   Filed under Blog, Featured, Uncategorized, Writing  

Several authors have criticized the use of the term overrunning to represent warm-frontal lifting here and here. I don’t need to add anything to those Web pages, but I do want to point out that the definition provided in the American Meteorological Society’s Glossary of Meteorology is wrong and ambiguous. overrunning—A condition existing when an […]

The proliferation of scientific literature

June 14, 2011   Filed under Blog, Uncategorized  

For some perspective on my previous post about the growing number of online open-access journals, I was reminded today of an article by Brian Vickery (1999) describing the development and explosion of the scientific literature during the 1900s. That article discussed the fact that many scientists were already overwhelmed by the huge amount of scientific […]

Potential Temperature: Warm and Cold?

June 14, 2011   Filed under Blog, Potpourri, Uncategorized, Writing  

Does it make sense to talk about air with high values of potential temperature or equivalent potential temperature as warm or cold? I don’t think so, so I recommend talking about “air with higher or lower potential temperature” instead. Although it is wordier than warm or cold, the meaning is precise.

When should you cite a paper?

March 12, 2011   Filed under Blog, Featured, Resources, Uncategorized, Writing  

3 month thesis by James Hayton has a free guide that you can sign up to receive called “The Short Guide to Writing Fast.” Inside I found this concise quote about when you should cite a paper (p. 20): You should only cite a paper… • To support one of your arguments • To provide […]

Is your “Outline” slide really needed?

February 18, 2011   Filed under Blog, Featured, Presentations, Uncategorized  

If you are giving a scientific talk at a conference (e.g., one that lasts 10 minutes), do you really need an outline slide? Do you really think the audience needs to know what the basic content of your scientific presentation is going to be? Even in longer talks, is such a slide really needed? When […]

One space or two?

January 16, 2011   Filed under Blog, Featured, Uncategorized, Writing  

Russ Schumacher and I have been discussing the current online battle between those who advocate one space between sentences and two spaces. The debate started with Slate’s Farhad Manjoo, then was picked up by The Atlantic, citing Tom Lee. I have to admit that my typing instructor in seventh grade taught us to use two […]


December 24, 2010   Filed under Blog, Excerpts, Featured, Potpourri, Uncategorized, Writing  

Dave Mechem (University of Kansas) and my Manchester colleagues have been telling me about a new term that has been adopted from geology into atmospheric science: upsidence. My understanding of upsidence is that the term means ascent in an environment with otherwise large-scale descent. The term is used to refer to an “upsidence wave”, a […]

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