Schweiger says of Curlin that “I’m glad that he’s only going on ‘sabbatical’ and I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t manage to stay away from it for long.”

Curlin is, in the end, a creature of our saddening climate times — in which we have unprecedented volumes of data and analysis available, for the expert and for the amateur alike, allowing us to watch at high resolution as the world burns. It’s fascinating, it’s all-consuming — and sometimes, it’s also devastating. You can be a good analyst, you can even help scientists themselves think about things in a new way — but then, sometimes you also have to stop and feel.

In the meantime, many of Curlin’s fans are awaiting his return.

“I’m sorry to see him taking a break and hope that he’ll resume the blog again,” said Walt Meier, a sea ice expert with NASA. “I think it’s a loss to the general public and to the scientific community.”

November 30