Forget the weekend forecast: Here's the weather report for the next decade.

Weather apps are wonderful things, like little Magic 8-Balls in our pockets that double as conversation starters.

My only complaint? Sure, it's nice that they can warn us when rain will wreck this weekend's picnic, but what about that wedding next summer?

What if we could predict the weather far beyond the coming week? Well, turns out we can.


Weather's gettin' sassy here! Photo by Josh McGinn/Flickr (cropped).

No, really! There's now a way to find the current conditions — while also getting a glimpse of the future (and the past!).

Created by a team of independent journalists, climate scientists, and meteorologists from Climate Central, WXshift is a new website that not only tells you what the weather is right now, but also offers different ways to visualize how the overall climate is shifting.

Specifically, it helps you understand the ways that weather has changed over time in your current location and what that forecast is looking like for the future.

Here's what WXshift looks like right now:


(I was actually hoping to show you the weather/climate comparison here in Paris, where I currently am and where the 2015 COP21 Climate Conference is currently underway, but WXshift only works in America right now, so I punched in my home ZIP code. Ah well.)

And if you're still unclear about the difference between weather and climate, you can think of it in terms of this delicious Vietnamese meal that I'm currently enjoying: "Weather" is the wonderful bo bun au porc dish I'm eating right now while "climate" refers to my overall dietary practices (i.e. eating all of the delicious things — last year, next week, next month, etc.).

Think of it as weather in context.

It's easy to be preoccupied with the weather right in front of us. But WXshift is a better way to see beyond the haze — which is more important now than ever, given the current conditions of the world.

Sure, it's easy to crack jokes about the follies of weathermen. Even I get cranky when it's a 20% chance of rain and I'm caught in a downpour. But while humans can't predict the future with 100% accuracy, we are pretty good at picking out the patterns and cycles that emerge over time.

Oh, don't act all innocent like you don't know that the way you calculate probability of precipitation is weird and misleading. Admit it, Mr. Meteorologist! You wanted me to get wet! Photo by Phil Konstantin/Wikimedia Commons.

The truth is that even those of us who believe the vast scientific consensus about climate change aren't always aware of just how bad it is.

There are many parts of America where even the year-to-year fluctuations don't seem so bad. For example, by the time next summer comes around, you're hardly going to notice or care about the difference between 85.6 degrees and 85.8 degrees.

It's not until you look at the bigger picture that you see the undeniable upward curve. Which is why WXshift is so cool. And important.

It allows us to visualize what's happening to our planet.


Which part of "Up" don't you understand? Graph from NASA.

And that bigger picture paints a pretty clear story: It's time to take action. And fast.

Again, I'm in Paris, so I'll compare it to the Impressionist paintings of the great Claude Monet: Up close, they look like random smudges of paint, and it's only when you step away that you can see the water lilies for what they really are.

But in this case, replace "water lilies" with "flash floods and forest fires and sinking shorelines and other catastrophic events of nature," and you'll have a more accurate picture.

See? They get the picture. Photo of Monet's "Water Lilies" at the Musée de l'Orangerie taken by me. Insert your own apocalyptic embellishments.

WXshift won't stop the rain from ruining our beach plans. But it could help us save the world for our descendants.

Our planet's at a turning point: If we don't take action now to curb our carbon emissions, the next generations will be stuck with the (pretty horrific) consequences.

Try showing WXshift it to someone you know who still refuses to submit to the scientific census about climate change. Or use it to just get a clearer sense of how this moment in time stacks up to the past and future.

And if you want to take action to keep these predictions from becoming reality, you can start by signing this petition to support America's Clean Power Plan.

In the meantime, here's a look at how WXshift looks for a few other cities around the country:

Chicago




Houston




Kansas City




Los Angeles




Miami



New Orleans



New York City


Heroes
True
League of Conservation Voters
Facebook / Mikhail Galin

Putting your pet in cargo during a flight isn't always safe. In 2016, the Department of Transportation reported a total of 26 pet deaths and 22 injuries on flights. Because conditions in cargo can be uncomfortable for animals, the Humane Society recommends taking your pet aboard when you fly, or just leaving it at home.

It's not surprising that one Russian man didn't want to put his overweight cat in cargo during an eight-hour flight from Moscow to Vladivostok. What is surprising is the great lengths he took to fly with his four-legged friend.

Russian airline Aeroflot allows pets to fly inside the plane's cabin, as long as the cat weighs under 17.6 pounds and stays in its carrier during the flight. When Mikhail Galin went to check in, he was told he couldn't fly with his four-year old cat, Viktor. Viktor weighed in at 22 pounds and would have to be relegated to cargo.

But Viktor was sick from their earlier flight from Riga, Latvia to Moscow. And besides, Viktor had been allowed to fly inside the cabin during that flight. The airline staff didn't even bother to make Viktor sit on the scales. Galin was unable to persuade staff to bring his fur baby on board.

"To all attempts to explain that the cat won't survive there on an 8-hour flight with the baggage and would haunt her in her nightmares for the rest of her life, she (the Aeroflot staff member) replied that there are rules," Galin wrote in a Facebook post translated from Russian.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Kelvin Octa from Pexels

Newborn babies don't seem to do much beyond eating and pooping and, of course, hiccupping. A lot. Parenting advice on how to cure a baby's hiccups runs the whole gamut. It's recommended parents try everything from nursing to stop feeding the baby so much, from giving the baby gripe water to letting the hiccups play their course. But when your baby hiccups too much, you shouldn't freak out. There's a good reason why.

A new study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that hiccups play an important role in a baby's development. Researchers from the University College London found 217 babies for their study, but only looked at 13 newborns with persistent hiccups. Ten of those babies hiccupped when they were awake, and three hiccupped during their "wriggly" sleep. We have no idea how the scientists got any work done with all that cuteness lying around.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon / YouTube

Actress Kristen Bell and "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon showed off their vocal and comedic chops on Tuesday night when the performed a medley of 17 Disney songs, spanning nine decades, in just five minutes.

The duo started with 1940's "When You Wish Upon a Star" and ended with 2013's "Let it Go" from "Frozen."

Bell will reprise her role as Anna in Disney's upcoming "Frozen 2."

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Ask almost any woman about a time a man said or did something sexually inappropriate to them, and she'll have a story or four to tell. According to a survey NPR published last year, 81% of women report having experienced sexual harassment, with verbal harassment being the most common. (By contrast, 43% of men report being sexually harassed. Naturally harassment toward anyone of any sex or gender is not okay, but women have been putting up with this ish unchecked for centuries.)

One form of verbal sexual harassment is the all too common sexist or sexual "joke." Ha ha ha, I'm going to say something explicit or demeaning about you and then we can all laugh about how hilarious it is. And I'll probably get away with it because you'll be too embarrassed to say anything, and if you do you'll be accused of being overly sensitive. Ha! Won't that be a hoot?

Keep Reading Show less
popular