Weather Blogs

September 22, 2017

As Earth continues to warm, lower solar radiation may ease the heat’s impact—temporarily. Let’s take a look at some emerging weather patterns. Our Warming Earth July 2017 had very close to the same average temperature across Earth as did July 2016, which was the hottest month ever recorded. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the average global land and ocean surface temperature for July 2017 was 0.83 degree C (1.49 degrees F) above the 20th-century average... more

August 31, 2017

Overall, the long range winter forecast for 2017–2018 shows generally colder temperatures than last winter for the U.S. and Canada but not colder than a typical winter, based on historical averages. As I write these words, there are no sunspots on the visible portion of the Sun, and solar activity is very quiet; this traditionally meant a cooling influence. So why isn’t it colder than average? Other weather factors are at play. Low Solar Activity As you may know, we at The Old Farmer’s Almanac... more

July 25, 2017

Now that we are well into hurricane season, I am continuing a look back at some of the most notable hurricanes that have hit the United States. In the past two issues, I looked at storms through the early 1990s. This month, I will conclude with five more recent ones. First, see the worst hurricanes from the first half of the 20th century and the second half of the 20th century. Hurricane Floyd Hurricane Floyd caused the largest peacetime evacuation in U.S. history, with 3 million people... more

June 30, 2017

With the beginning of hurricane season in June, last month we began to look back on some of the most notable hurricanes that hit the United States in the early 20th century. Time marches on: Hurricane season will continue until November 30, and this month we spotlight the most severe late–20th-century hurricanes. See the worst hurricanes from the first half of the 20th century. Hurricane Carol In August 1954, Hurricane Carol caused 72 fatalities and $462 million in damage, making it at the time... more

June 26, 2017

The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts that today’s 4th of July festivities will bring fireworks in the sky … from thunderstorms! In honor of nature’s fireworks, we are taking a look at some thunder lore and how thunder is born! What is Thunder? Thunder is born in the instant when the return lightning stroke leaves the earth and spears upward through the channel of ionized air. The channel is viciously expanded outward and bursts in the sonic shock wave that reaches up as a thunderclap. This initial... more

June 16, 2017

What is a rainbow? Most everyone has seen a rainbow sometime in their life, but do you know how rainbows are actually formed? Here’s an explanation. What is a Rainbow? To put it plainly, rainbows are reflections of sunlight through raindrops. As the light is reflected, it is refracted, which means that the direction of the light wave is changed. Different wavelengths of light, which we see as colors, bend at different angles and produce a rainbow’s signature color banding, as seen in the... more

June 2, 2017

As I’ve mentioned before, twelve new cloud types were announced this past year. Some of the most interesting are what we call the “special” and accessory clouds … (The photo above shows the “Doomsday” cloud, Undulatus Asperatus, which I shared in my last post on new cloud discoveries.) What’s an accessory cloud? This is a cloud that accompanies another. Believe me, you would rather see the picture than have one coming at you. The new accessory cloud is called a “flumen” and is a low cloud... more

May 23, 2017

With the start of hurricane season upon us, let’s look back on some of the worst, most destructive hurricanes that have hit the United States. This month, we’ll look at five from the first half of the 20th century; in coming months, we’ll look at more recent major hurricanes. Note that it was not until 1953 that Atlantic/Gulf Hurricanes were given women’s names—with men’s names added in 1979—so the earlier storms are known by the region they most affected. The Galveston Hurricane (1900) The... more

May 22, 2017

My last post celebrated cloud lovers and how they shook the science world with their cell phones. They discovered 12 clouds now listed in the International Cloud Atlas—the first officially recognized in 30 years. Now it’s time to meet these strange new clouds filling the skies.  Clouds recognized since 1986. Source: NOAA. The World Meteorological Organization originally recognized only 10 types (genera) of clouds and organized them by form and height, with genus, species and varieties just... more

May 15, 2017

Reach into your pocket and you will find the newest weather instrument—your cell phone. Thanks to people’s cell pictures, scientists have now discovered 12 new clouds. These are the first new clouds discovered in 30 years.  For a cloud to officially exist, it must be recognized by the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) which lists types of clouds in its International Cloud Atlas. This year it published a new edition and for the first time since 1986 has listed new types... more

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