John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Autumn ranks first, while surprisingly unpopular monikers include Thunder and Frost.
Parents hoping to sneakily nudge their children toward being meteorologists might start by choosing the appropriate name, such as Autumn, Misty, or Summer.
And in fact there are lots of parents giving kids these kinds of monikers—the previous three are the top weather- or climate-related names in the U.S., according to this fun ranking from Alaskan meteorologist Brian Brettschneider. Using birth data from the Social Security Administration, Brettschneider compiled a logarithmic chart showing Autumn to be the most popular (112,880 names), and Frost, Cirrus, and Snowy the least (13, 6, and 5).
Brettschneider writes on Facebook:
This may be interesting to absolutely no one but me. Last year I wrote a little program to tally up the Social Security Administration list of baby names. Using a weather/climate glossary as a reference, here are the grand total number of babies born in the U.S. with a weather or climate name since 1880. Note 1: only weather/climate spellings were evaluated. Note 2: A name has to have at least 5 occurrences in a year to make the annual list. Anything less than 5 is reported as 0.
The chart reveals many things, from the surprising underutilization of Thunder to what’s perhaps a subliminal indication of seasonal preferences (Fall, then summer and winter, and lastly spring). It also shows there are many more names adventurous parents could pioneer—my pick would be Firenado for a boy bound to become a pro wrestler, or Graupel for a girl, after those soft, fuzzy pellets that marry snow with hail.