Weatherwise: by Ed Darack —
Splintering gale force winds, stabbing cold, blistering heat, blinding fog, pitiless rain … the sky can foul our lives in endless ways to all degrees, from the mild sting of an icy breeze on our ears to the lethal crush of a hurricane’s storm surge. Today, with seemingly endless terabytes of meteorological data from around the globe, we can identify locales where the sky routinely and brutally assails the land and anything on it. But what of those places on the polar opposite of the atmosphere’s very worst, where the sky consistently bathes the land and its inhabitants with bliss, year round? Can we identify the very best weather places in the world?
First we need to define “best” weather—for humans. We know that a temperature of −90°F or 125°F will kill even the most hardy of us without adequate protection from these conditions, but what weather best promotes overall health, soothes and possibly even inspires us, never (or only rarely) nudging us even slightly out of our margins of comfort? Can we define a hypothetical set of atmospheric conditions that would optimize our very being, as humans?
We’re all different; no “normal” exists throughout humanity for physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Each of us has a unique personal outlook on weather favorability and how the skies affect us—based on upbringing and direct experience. Some of us prefer annual—and even diurnal—consistency of temperature, a “place without seasons” where the “best weather is no weather at all.” Others prefer locations with starkly delineated winters, springs, summers, and falls. And some of us desire places where caprice rules the skies—hot, grating winds one day, frigid showers the next. All of humanity, however, share common traits and common needs rooted at much more fundamental levels of our existence than that of our consciously learned preference for seasonality, desire for inspiration from ephemeral rainbows and fleeting breezes, or nostalgia for dawns smothered in blinding white snow. Weather affects many of these fundamental needs—physical, mental, and emotional.