Cloudy With a Chance of Certainty
Three plasma screens
Jeffrey Inaba/C-lab This project presents the current weather conditions in twenty-four US cities and also visually quantifies the impact of weather patterns on cities. Although we spend a lot of time following weather news, there isn’t a lot of news about the consequences of weather. Only when meteorological pressures depart from slight fluctuations and approach extremes that potentially cause damage does weather reporting describe its collective impact. Yet, the weather greatly affects us every day. Cloudy With a Chance of Certainty presents an ongoing report of the consequences of its unpredictability on cities. Weather influences the workings of cities, altering the flow of their traffic infrastructure, the use of their energy resources, and the productivity of their industries. Knowing what the weather will be helps cities to prepare for climatologic surprises and minimize disruption. However, even with advanced technological forecasting, the weather is uncertain and our hazy knowledge of its impact has meaningful urban costs as shown in the three display panels. Panel One provides the current temperature of twenty-four US cities. Panel Two represents the unpredictability of weather, expressed as the difference between the city’s projected and actual temperature for each day. The daily deviations are added together to indicate the sum inaccuracy for each city’s forecasted weather for the current month. To get a glimpse of the economic stakes of weather accuracy, Panel Two also shows the daily closing price of Weather Futures traded for each of the cities. Panel Three provides a preliminary estimate of the cities’ change in GDP output based upon the affects of weather changes on utilities, communication, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, agriculture, mining, and “financial, insurance, and real estate” sectors. Developed specifically for “The Last Newspaper,” Cloudy With a Chance of Certainty is the product of a collaboration between New York-based architect Jeffrey Inaba and C-Lab, a think tank he directs at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, which studies urbanism and architecture and makes policy recommendations. C-lab participants include: Luc Deckinga, Clara Klein, Simon Battisti, Justin Fowler, Maryana Grinshpun, Amanda Shin, Nicholas Solakian, and Leah Whitman-Salkin.
Photography Credit
Photography: Benoit Pailley
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