Eric Holthaus

Weather Nerd

The power and beauty of weather have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. For most of the last few years, I have been walking around the dusty fields of Ethiopia, talking to subsistence farmers about climate change. My project in Ethiopia (funded by the Japanese government) is designed to provide one of the first widespread safety nets for drought to farmers making less than $1 per day. To do that, I used a continuous stream of weather data from an American satellite launched the year I was born (1981), filtered through a Swiss company built to trade weather risk on the international market. (Next year, we hope to use mobile banking technology pioneered in Kenya.) The world is an amazing, interconnected place. My other major project, Weathermob, allows all of us to share our love of nature with each other. Weathermob is crowdsourcing the most basic of human conversation topics: the weather, and aiming to revolutionize weather forecasting in the process. Although I’ve chosen meteorology as my profession, my heart is drawn to the countless ways in which people around the world interact with the planet we all share. I like to give a human touch to my reporting. From 2010-2013 (and during Hurricane Sandy), I led weather coverage for the Wall Street Journal. Before that, I worked at Columbia University's Earth Institute, translating weather and climate data into actionable knowledge around the world -- especially in Haiti and East Africa. My goal for weather and climate coverage on Quartz is to examine major and mundane events with a data lens. By narrating and giving backstory, I hope to make the numbers more accessible. Here's a truth: our climate is changing and it’s because of human activities. In the past, our leaders have refused to tackle this problem head on, perhaps because they thought it was too hard, or because other problems were more pressing. Now, the evidence is overwhelming: extreme weather affects us all. That means we each have the power to make a difference, right here, right now. Each of our truths matter. That’s the beauty of social media… it allows us to share our window into the world with the rest of the world. I’m convinced that the more we know about each other, the more we value each other. From Ethiopian farmers to Canadian fishermen and from English gardeners to California surfers, we all depend on the weather and we all depend on each other. I’m looking forward to reading your comments and joining you to talk about my favorite topic: the weather.
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