Series

The lack of data in adult literacy
The term "literacy" covers more than just the basic ability to read and write. This concept has evolved to cover a broad continuum of skills people need in their lives. Many adults and children struggle with literacy in its various forms, as they navigate the increasingly complex worlds of health care, finance, and technology. Their needs are difficult to quantify, especially when it comes to adult literacy. But Wisconsinites can turn to many resources and organizations to empower themselves through enhanced literacy skills.More
More Wisconsinites have become homeless since the Great Recession, but their numbers have proven difficult to track. In fact, different methods of counting the homeless yield wildly different numbers. But it's clear that homelessness spans both urban and rural areas in Wisconsin, and is having a huge impact on children and families, not just single adults. Researchers, advocates and policymakers across the state are exploring new approaches to address homelessness, from experimenting with the "housing-first" model to proposing controversial ordinances that restrict where people can sleep or ask for money.More
ENSO 2015 forecast
The climatic cycle known as the El Niño Southern Oscillation, or ENSO, exerts a powerful but irregular influence on weather around the world. Climatologists predicted that 2015 could be a record year for El Niño, given surface water temperature warming in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean — one of the key indicators of the cycle. Its impact in Wisconsin is indirect but causes general warmer conditions in winter — while other parts of the world can see droughts, floods, and massive food insecurity. But El Niño can still cause challenges for Wisconsin farmers, tourism, logging, and wildlife. The cycle is highly unpredictable, and scientists are still trying to understand how it interacts with global climate change.More
Wisconsin experiences all four seasons in their full intensity, sometimes even within a few days of each other. This pattern reflects a classic example of a continental climate, a classification applied to regions of the globe with hot or warm summers and cold winters with average temperatures often below freezing. More specifically, Wisconsin has a humid continental climate, and straddles the border between its hot and mild summer subtypes. What this means over the summer season is that many areas of the state can have temperatures high enough to be dangerous — to humans, to animals and even to plants. When the mercury rises, though, people can take action to protect lives and property.More