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Is it in your nature to use “nature” in your scientific writing?

June 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing

Some authors have a habit of using the word “nature” commonly in their writing. I suspect that they don’t even think about it. It just seems, well, natural. In fact, the word is empty of meaning in many contexts. “cumuliform nature”: “the cauliflower-like visual appearance of convective clouds” “nature of the convection”: What do you […]

Potential Temperature: Warm and Cold?

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.

Thermodynamic diagrams for free

Upon packing up my house in Oklahoma, I discovered a small stash of Skew T–logp thermodynamic diagrams that I had saved when Charlie Crisp cleaned out his office at NSSL. (I also have a huge stash of blank U.S. surface maps, in case anyone is interested in them.) Geraint Vaughan at Manchester had been lamenting […]

New “Eloquent” article now published

Following up on a previous post, “Occluded fronts and the occlusion process: A fresh look at conventional wisdom” has now been published in BAMS. Download it here.

Take the Pledge: I Won’t Use Map-room Jargon!

If you regularly attend discussions in the weather-map room, subscribe to weather or storm-chaser discussion lists, or have reviewed articles for Weather, Monthly Weather Review, National Weather Digest, or Weather and Forecasting, then you have been exposed to it. Map-room jargon. Often the speakers of map-room jargon don’t even know what they are doing. (I […]

Giving proper credit to Monin and Obukhov

January 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Potpourri

Often in the literature, you will hear about the Monin-Obukhov length (30,400 results in google today) and Monin-Obukhov similarity theory (9520 results in google today). Monin-Obukhov similarity theory is the correct term. But, the length L should only be referred to as the Obkhov Obukhov length, as correctly stated in the AMS Glossary and on […]

One of the most challenging (and satisfying) articles I’ve written

December 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Articles, Blog, Featured, News, Writing

I recently coauthored a paper that has now been accepted for publication in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Schultz, D. M., and G. Vaughan, 2011: Occluded fronts and the occlusion process: A fresh look at conventional wisdom. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 92, doi: 10.1175/2010BAMS3057.1. This paper is the first one I’ve written solely […]


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 […]

Writing is Like Forecasting

July 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Excerpts

This section is published in the June 2010 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Volume 91, p. 791.

Where to publish case studies in meteorology

July 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Articles, Featured, Writing

Dr. Alexander Keul of Salzburg University asked me whether any journals were publishing case studies in meteorology. What was interesting was that I had received another question or two along these lines recently. Seemed like an opportunity to blog. I would argue that there are two extremes of what one might call “case studies.” On […]

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