Weather Blogs

May 10, 2016

Good bye Boy.  The El Niño is on its way out. It brought more rain in some areas plus lower summer food and cooling prices. But his sister is coming, and La Niña is no lady. The El Niño weather pattern has been in place since last summer over the central Pacific Ocean; it brought above-average rainfall and surprisingly warm temperatures. However, the waters are cooling even more quickly than experts thought it would. Unfortunately, this means scientists are expecting its twin sister, the... more

April 18, 2016

Some people just complain about weather. Others attempt to understand and profit from it. And a third, rare, group turn it into a playground, something to learn about, experience and enjoy. That’s what Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum did. This April, we (The Weather Whisperers) gave a talk and got to visit the museum’s new exhibit, “Riding The Whirlwind: Weather in the West”. Filled with art, spectacular pictures and hand-on exhibits for the kid in all of us, it... more

April 14, 2016

Have you enjoyed shivering your way through the latest bout of volcano weather? After a record-setting warm March 2016, early April was really cold in parts of North America. Why the cold blast? Two cold fronts whizzed in and sent temperatures plunging to record lows. It was a gift from Mt. Pavlof in Alaska.  Scientists have known for a long time that if a volcano eruption is big enough, it can alter weather. Back in 1815, Indonesia’s Mt. Tambora exploded and put up so much debris that it... more

March 23, 2016

This year, the early spring weather really is warmer than normal. Nope, you did not imagine it! You all know by now that the spring equinox 2016 was the earliest in our lifetime, arriving on March 19 and 20. However, this is an astronomical event and due to some Leap Year weirdness. Coincidentally, our springtime weather also came early for most of North American. Of course, New York and the Northeast, just to be different, celebrated the beginning of spring with snow. But, if you were in... more

March 11, 2016

Be careful what you wish for. Californians have been praying for rain and have been blasted by a rampaging river.  This isn’t just a normal river. It is an atmospheric river. Scientists used to call it a “moisture plume”, residents call it a “Pineapple Express” but that doesn’t convey how blasted powerful these things are! Imagine a river of water, larger than any river on Earth, flowing through the sky then dumping on your head.  These rivers start off as storms in the tropics. You’ve seen... more

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

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