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经济学人下载: 冬有雪(2)

Source: Economist    2021-01-13  我要投稿   论坛   Favorite  

Monster snowstorms interest Mr Wood, too, such as the great white hurricane of 1888, during which hundreds of people in the north-eastern United States died of hypothermia. Paralysing winter storms were disasters for cities like New York and Philadelphia, which initiated their own local “arms race against nature”, experimenting with crude ploughs to clear streets and with substances from cinders to grape extract and salt to de-ice them. Snow also spurred the development of subway systems that burrowed beyond the reach of winter weather. 

伍德先生也对巨大的暴风雪产生了兴趣,比如1888年的白色飓风,当时美国东北部有数百人死于体温过低。对于纽约和费城这样的城市来说,冬季风暴是能引发瘫痪的灾难,当地为此发起了“与自然的军备竞赛”。人们试验用粗糙的犁清理街道,用煤渣、葡萄提取物和盐等物质除冰。降雪还刺激了地铁系统的发展,政府在冬季天气影响不到的地方挖掘地铁系统。

The atmospheric forces that created such blizzards remained unknown until Ooishi Wasaburo, another Japanese scientist, discovered chaotic eddies in the upper atmosphere, now known as the jet stream, in the 1920s. When the frigid jet stream bumps hard against humid air generated by the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic, meteorological mayhem results. Given the complexity of the atmosphere—and the spotty nature of the available data on it—snow forecasting will always remain an inexact science, Mr Wood contends. 

人们对于造成如此巨大的暴风雪的大气力量一直未知,直到另一位日本科学家大石和三郎于20世纪20年代发现了高层大气中的混乱漩涡(现在称为急流)。寒冷的急流猛烈撞击大西洋湾流产生的潮湿空气会引发气象灾害。伍德认为,鉴于大气的复杂性和大气现有数据的不确定性,降雪预测将永远是一门不精确的科学。

His scattershot chapters touch on the impact of erratic snowfall on the water crisis in California and on winter fun everywhere. He offers some frustratingly disjointed speculation about how climate change will alter future snowfalls. The short answer is that there will probably be more snow in places where humidity increases, and less where temperatures become too high to sustain it. 

伍德书中的零散章节谈到了不稳定的降雪对加州水危机以及各地冬季乐趣的影响。针对气候变化将如何改变未来的降雪,他提出了一些令人沮丧的不连贯的推测。简而言之,在湿度增加的地方可能会有更多的降雪,在温度过高而无法维持太多湿气的地方,降雪量可能会减少。

And he reflects, if briefly, on snow’s delights and peculiar allure. Why do people either love it or hate it? Many long for it, Mr Wood proposes, because of the splendid isolation that it enforces. As with the pandemic, a white-out can be overwhelming. It can also direct attention inward, and help people return to themselves. 

而且,即使雪很短暂,伍德也还是思考了雪的乐趣和独特的魅力。为什么人们对雪有爱有恨?伍德先生认为,许多人热爱雪是因为雪能够让他们与世隔绝。就像新冠疫情一样,暴风雪可能势不可挡。雪还可以让人们专注内心,帮助人们回归自我。


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