Weather: [More data + more computers = better forecasts]

Weather: [More data + more computers = better forecasts]

Weather forecasts improve, but who’s ever satisfied? Check some around-the-corner technologies that will paint a better picture of tomorrow — especially in hot, stormy summer days. What is the promise of GPS, better radar and “hyperspectral” instruments? More »

Make rainbows!

Make rainbows!
Make a rainbow Rainbows are one of the wonders of the natural world: But why do you sometimes see one rainbow, and other times a double? Why do you always see rainbows with your back to the sun? How do… More »

Hurricanes

Hurricanes

Synopsis: Hurricanes, the most powerful and dangerous storms of all, get their energy from the difference in temperature between a warm ocean and a cooler atmosphere. A century ago, hurricanes blew in with almost no warning; now they are tracked… More »

Horrific Hurricanes

Horrific Hurricanes

How do hurricanes form? How do we predict their paths? How can we improve predictions? More »

Mourning the dying weather satellites

Mourning the dying weather satellites

We love accurate weather forecasts, but the weather satellites they rely on are nearing the boneyard. Some replacements have crashed into the ocean, others are in financial limbo. Be very worried about our fragile planet: these satellites also track climate, ice, fire, and the health of forests and ocean! More »

Polar science

Detail from schematic diagram

Classroom Activity Page: The poles are fascinating, partly because they are such difficult places to visit, work and live. They still guard many mysteries that we’d like to unravel, including the survival of polar animals, the history of ancient peoples, and the understanding of Earth’s climate. More »

Let it snow

Let it snow

If you saw something like this falling from the sky, you might think that the weather outside was indeed frightful. But this dumbbell shaped object is, in fact, a super-magnified snowflake — yes, a snowflake. Not so frightful after all.… More »

What’s so lion-like about March?

What's so lion-like about March?

What’s so lion-like about March? March in Madison by beautifulcataya The famous adage that March weather comes “In like a lion, out like a lamb” suggesting that the first part of the month respects its pedigree and is winterlike while… More »

Tornado prediction

rubble of buildings and damaged car on side of road, sky still cloudy

Three essential elements drive a tornado: Wet air, dry air, and wind shear. What explains the big improvement in tornado prediction? More »

Watch for steam devils in late November/early December

Watch for steam devils in late November/early December

Watch for steam devils in late November/early December Steam Devils in Wisconsin One of the many advantages of living near large lakes in temperate climates is the steam fog that shrouds them in fall and early winter. Fog is essentially… More »

When does winter really start in Wisconsin?

When does winter really start in Wisconsin?

When does winter really start in Wisconsin? State outline barely visible under snowcover (click image to enlarge), this is Winter in Wisconsin. Photo: MODIS Image Gallery by Liam Gumley, SSEC (Space Science and Engineering Center, UW, Madison). The beginning of… More »

What is the difference between a ‘warning’ and a ‘watch’?

What is the difference between a 'warning' and a 'watch'?

What is the difference between a ‘warning’ and a ‘watch’? A weather watch indicates the possibility of hazardous weather, while a warning means that hazardous weather is occurring, is about to occur or is very likely to occur. A watch… More »