Weather Blogs

March 6, 2016

With spring’s start, why do we start seeing more baby animals, from lambs and bunnies to chicks? It’s because spring provides the best weather and conditions for the animals in our latitudes to give birth. Science shows increasing ties between weather and reproduction. It’s spring! Time for critters to reproduce. It’s not just warming that encourages springtime babies. Even air pressure has an effect! University of Arkansas scientists report that spring calves tend to be born when barometric (... more

March 3, 2016

Herring—they aren’t just for eating. Besides being the favorite snack for Northern Europe and Minnesota, they are great little weather forecasters. The secret to their success is that they are warm water fish that swim north in springtime. First the water gets warm, then they migrate north. About the time that you hear reports that they have arrived, the heat from the water flows inland. In 2012, for example, the herring arrived north about six weeks early. So did the warm spring weather,... more

February 16, 2016

The United States is blessed with a wonderful northern neighbor … except when Canada is in a generous mood and shares its winter weather. That’s when the U.S. gets clipped or mauled by screamingly cold weather. We call it a “Polar Vortex”, but the cold fronts have traditionally been called Alberta Clippers, Saskatchewan Screamers. Manitoba Maulers, or even Ontario Scary-o, depending on which Canadian province the storm started. No matter where they come from, they are fast, mean and bitterly ... more

February 8, 2016

Why do we hold Valentine’s Day, the day to celebrate hot romance, in the middle of cold snowy February? What in the past made our ancestors decide that blizzards were the climate for love? Believe me, after shoveling the snow from my driveway, nothing—and I do mean nothing—is further from my mind than romance. So why is this holiday scheduled at such a frigid time of the year? The answer is that the climate we are experiencing today is not necessarily the original weather people were... more

February 7, 2016

Have you read the latest science news? “Jays and crows act as ecosystem engineers”?  These birds are helping oaks and pines—Christmas trees—weather changing climate. Pretty good for a bunch of birdbrains! The secret to these little engineers’ success is that they like to eat seeds. Like squirrels, they collect and hoard acorns and pine nuts in a number of scattered hoards. Since they hoard more than they eat, some of these seeds sprout and form new trees. This helps the trees survive. If a... more

January 23, 2016

The El Niño is fading away! Yay! Considering the horrible weather that it brought, that’s a good thing. The El Niño may return and start growing stronger again. Whoops! Following the snowstorm in Washington D.C. and the Mid-Atlantic states, weather announcers were quick to proclaim that it’s all due to the current strong El Niño. The event typically brings heavy storms and rains to the South and many of these storms sail up the East Coast as snowy Nor’easter blizzards. Normally these type... more

January 17, 2016

Hurricane Alex is the first hurricane in January in 75 years. How did a hurricane occur in January?  Read on . .  Just like most of us resolve to start the New Year, improving our lives, a little Southern storm apparently had the same goal in mind.  Alex wanted to make something of himself  … the little storm that could. Normally hurricanes form over the tropical Atlantic Ocean. Alex didn’t, instead he formed off the southeastern coast of the US. Water temperatures need to be around 79°F... more

January 3, 2016

We’ve all gazed at the clouds, and seen different shapes such as animals or faces, right? Here’s a new twist … Adam Voiland, a NASA scientist and new dad, has read Dr. Seuss’s ABC books so many times that he started to see letters of the alphabet in NASA’s satellite pictures of Earth! It was as easy and fun as the A-B-Cs! The Letter “A” — for Utah’s Green River. The Letter “B” — for the Arkansas River.   The Letter “C” — for an artificial island off of Bahrain. Others have joined... more

January 1, 2016

A new year is always ripe with possibilities. Will it be stormy and difficult or sunny and full of hope?  Ask the scientists who helped create this year’s Old Farmer’s Almanac forecast—it’s hard to predict weather a year ahead of time. But, ever hopeful, people used to turn to folklore to predict the weather. New Year’s Weather Folklore In particular, they looked to the wind. If you want try this, step outside as the sun sets on New Year’s Eve. Feel the wind and recite: If New Year’s Eve... more

December 15, 2015

Are you celebrating winter with the dreaded common cold? It may be miserable, but it is showing you something about the weather. Just as your stuffed nose blocks relief and makes your sinuses swell (Ouch!), so the warm Atlantic Gulf Stream is feeling blocked this winter. That means the heat is building up behind the blockage. All that hot water is warming the Eastern US and parts of Canada.  Remember, 70% of the Earth’s surface is the oceans. Heat from the oceans flow into North America.... more

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