This Week: Ancient water = ancient habitat?
In the News: Texas is dry and hot. Global warming?
Coming Thursday: Roaches: A lot smarter than you thought!
Numerical Weather Forecasting is younger than rock ‘n roll!! From NOAA Before 1960, the idea that a reasonably accurate two-day weather forecast could be made routinely was a pipe dream – now it’s a routine reality. In fact, it was not until just after World War I that a theory concerning the structure, life cycle [...]
What is the dewpoint temperature? Dew on evergreens, by Michael Theberge at NOAA Think of a morning when you walked on a grass lawn or through a field. Did your shoes get wet? If yes, that is because the grass was wet with dew. The dewpoint temperature is the temperature to which the air must [...]
What is space weather? Space weather describes the conditions in space that affect Earth and its technological systems. Space weather storms originate from the sun and occur in space near Earth or in the atmosphere. Space weather, like weather here on Earth, is continually moving and changing. Space weather phenomena include the Northern lights and [...]
How accurate are weather forecasts? Image: NOAA In general, weather forecasts are getting better, due to improvements in computer models, observations and our understanding of atmospheric. Accuracy depends on the purpose of the forecast and how far out it extends. Next-day forecasts of maximum temperature are good to within 3 or 4 degrees; however, the [...]
Do tides and seiches occur on lakes? Tides are changes in water level caused by the gravitational pull on water by the moon and, to a lesser extent, the sun. Tides are of interest mainly in oceans and their coastal estuaries, which are part of one big body of water that is free to move [...]
Is there a relationship between sun spots and climate? Since the invention of the telescope in the 1600s, observers have recorded variations in the numbers of dark spots – “sunspots” – on the Sun’s surface. These variations normally follow a regular cycle with peaks 11 years apart. This cycle coincides with a small oscillation in [...]
How can we determine how far away lightning is? Make your own lightning Because of the vast differences in the speed of light and the speed of sound, the flash of lightning precedes the rumble of thunder. It takes sound waves five seconds to travel one mile, whereas the flash of lightning travels the same [...]
Why is the sky blue? Half Dome (in California’s Yosemite National Park) under a bright blue sky. To understand why the sky is blue, we need to understand a little about light. Light is a form of electromagnetic energy, which can propagate through empty space. We describe this energy by wavelength – the distance between [...]