Snap from a mid-January 2014 storm. Image Source: The Weather Network.
Today is the spring equinox (11:02 UTC) in the northern hemisphere, and the start of autumn in the southern hemisphere.
This winter in North America has been ghastly. It came early; it's leaving late. The continent has been sitting under something called the polar vortex (a polar cyclone) for months. The vortex dipped unusually far south, set records for storms and snowfall. It closed down the city of Atlanta. Winnipeg, a city renowned for cold temperatures, is having the worst winter in 75 years: in early March, hundreds of people went without water as the frost reached past the seven foot mark where water pipes are buried. Parts of the UK were flooded. People across Canada, the USA, the UK and Europe are having difficulty paying for heating fuel; see reports here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Some observers blame human-induced climate change and global warming for this weather; this winter's extremes may also be due to a natural Arctic weather oscillation, explained in this post.
Several large weather events were so unusual as to deserve their own Wiki entries and news reports:
- Late 2013 North American cold wave
- December 2013 North American ice storm
- Winter storms of 2013-2014 in the United Kingdom
- January 2014 Gulf Coast winter storm
- Early 2014 North American cold wave
- February 11-17, 2014 North American winter storm
Niagara Falls park, NY state, USA (7 January 2014). Image Source: Times Colonist.
Niagara Falls froze in January 2014. Image Source: Reuters via The Express.
Thus, we are very happy in the northern hemisphere to mark the turn of the seasons: below the jump, see some futuristic landscape architecture by Charles Jencks. All photographs are from My Modern Met, which interviewed Jencks about his sources of inspiration:
Jencks has made a name for himself in the field of landscape architecture. Because he's inspired by such far-reaching ideas as fractals, genetics, chaos theory, and waves, one can't help but think deeply about each work. As he says, "To see the world in a Grain of Sand, the poetic insight of William Blake, is to find relationships between the big and small, science and spirituality, the universe and the landscape. This cosmic setting provides the narrative for my content-driven work, the writing and design. I explore metaphors that underlie both growing nature and the laws of nature, parallels that root us personally in the cosmos as firmly as a plant, even while our mind escapes this home."
"A concrete staircase that looks like a waterfall and represents the universe."
"Jencks' latest project is in northern England and is called Northumberlandia (the "Goddess of the North"). Commissioned by a UK coal-mining company, Jencks is creating to a giant land goddess sculpture that's 112 feet high and 1,300 feet long. Due for completion in 2013, it will be the world's largest human form sculpted into the landscape."