Daniel Swain

is creating Weather West Blog

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About Daniel Swain

Welcome! I'm a climate scientist, and I study the changing character and causes of weather and climate extremes. Much of my scientific work is focused on understanding how variations in the overall Earth system--especially its atmosphere and oceans--can trigger droughts and floods in different parts of the world. I'm also a life-long Californian (and alumnus of UC Davis and Stanford University), and my research tends to have a regional focus on California and the American West more broadly.

In addition to my "day job," I'm also the sole author and creator of Weather West (also known as the California Weather Blog). Since its inception, my goal has been to offer unique perspectives on California weather and climate, with a particular focus on real-time events and the broader context of long-term climate change. As a bit of a "weather nut" myself, my articles sometimes discuss specific weather events in considerable detail--though most of the time, my focus lies closer to the weather-climate interface.

Weather West has grown at a rather amazing pace in recent years. Much of this growth can be attributed to a surge in interest in California climate issues during the 2012-2016 California drought--and, perhaps most directly, to the rise of the "Ridiculously Resilient Ridge" (a term I coined on Weather West to describe the persistent high pressure system proximally responsible for the drought). Readership of the California Weather Blog exploded over the same interval: between 2013 and 2016, site visits skyrocketed from just a few thousand to over a quarter million per month! In short: what began as a niche site targeted toward (what I thought to be) a rather small audience has, over the past decade, grown into something far bigger, and much more widely read.

Weather West is a self-hosted website, and has experienced some substantial growing pains over the last few years (including occasional downtime, slow performance, and even one nearly catastrophic data loss incident). The dramatic increase in traffic has necessitated increasingly robust (and expensive) web hosting arrangements and software solutions. Fortunately, I've been able to keep pace with the continuously increasing financial cost of running and maintaining Weather West by placing advertisements served by various ad networks on the site. Unfortunately, many readers find these advertisements to be bothersome and distracting (and I can't say that I disagree). In an ideal world, Weather West would have few or no advertisements--but currently, the substantial costs associated with running the site preclude their removal.

That's the primary motivation behind this Patreon page. I'm hoping to try an experiment: if enough people are willing to make voluntary contributions toward site development and maintenance, I'm hoping to substantially reduce advertisements on the Weather West website. I have no interest in making Weather West a subscription-based platform; in fact, I can promise that site content will always remain freely available (and fully reproducible) to all. By contributing, you won't receive any special access--instead, you'll be helping to subsidize a better Weather West experience for everyone. 
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 2 exclusive posts
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 2 exclusive posts

Recent posts by Daniel Swain

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