Monthly Archives: November 2012

Americans Favor “Regulator-in-Chief”

Marc Eisner, Henry Merritt Wriston Chair in Public Policy, professor of government, professor of environmental studies, commented extensively in a Bloomberg News story on how President Barack Obama’s re-election reflects a preference among voters for leaders who aggressively use the tools of government at their disposal.

“There’s an old saying that Americans hate Congress but they love their congressmen,” Eisner said. “In the same way, people hate regulation, but end up loving their regulations.”

Linda McMahon’s Downfall? Voters’ Party Loyalty

Despite spending more than $40 million in her campaign against Chris Murphy, and painting herself as an independent and moderate, Republican Linda McMahon once again was defeated in her bid for Connecticut’s U.S. Senate seat. In an op-ed in The Hartford CourantAssistant Professor of Government Logan Dancey writes that McMahon’s loss is reflective of a larger, nationwide decline in split-ticket voting. That is, voters now are much more loyal to one party, and less likely to choose candidates for President and Congress that belong to different political parties.

Hurricane Sandy: The New Normal?

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies Gary Yohe wrote for World News Australia about the important questions raised about climate change and our future by this and other recent extreme weather events. “Are we now experiencing the ‘new normal’ climate?” he asks. He concludes that “what we have been experiencing recently is only the harbinger of a future that will be punctuated by more severe weather extremes and increasing damage – all driven as the future unfolds by past and future emissions of heat-trapping gases.”

Wesleyan Weather Station Tracks Hurricane Sandy’s Low Air Pressure

A graph based on data collected by the Wesleyan Weather Station shows a drop in barometric pressure during the passing of Hurricane Sandy.

A graph based on data collected by the Wesleyan Weather Station shows a drop in barometric pressure during the passing of Hurricane Sandy.

The Wesleyan Weather Station recorded a strong drop in local air pressure during Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 29. According to the weather report, the local sea-level barometric pressure was a normal 760 mmHg (millimeters of Mercury) on Oct. 28. When Hurricane Sandy passed through Wesleyan’s campus on Oct. 29, the pressure dropped to a low of 733 mmHg during the storm’s peak.

“Low pressure generally indicates stormy conditions whereas high pressure is associated with fair weather,” explains Johan “Joop” Varekamp, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science. “We tend to only see the barometer drop this low in the event of extreme weather.”

The Wesleyan Weather Station also measures the wind speed and direction, and displays graphically changes in temperature and barometric pressure over a seven-day period. During the storm, maximum wind speeds were recorded Sunday around midnight.

The Wesleyan Weather Station was established with a Teaching Innovation Grant from President Michael Roth, and is extensively used in Varekamp’s Global Climate Change class to calculate variations in atmospheric CO2 build-up during day-night cycles that vary with temperature. The station is maintained by Joel LaBella, facilities manager for the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, Information Technology Services and Varekamp.