Monthly Archives: August 2012
What are sundogs?
On a day with high ice clouds, you are likely to see shiny, colored regions at either side of the sun. These are sundogs, an optical effect caused by refraction and dispersion of the Sun’s light through ice crystals. When the light rays strike the boundary between the air and water, like an ice crystal, several things can happen. Some rays are turned back in the direction from which they came, the familiar process of reflection. Other rays are transmitted into the crystal. Some of the transmitted rays change direction, a process known as refraction. Continue reading
Are there fall weather changes beyond turning leaves and falling temperatures?
As we head into the second half of August a subtle transition in our weather begins to occur — a transition that is probably hard to detect at first but that eventually becomes very obvious and then lasts for approximately eight months.
We are not talking about the gradual reduction in daytime high temperatures or the increasingly cooler to cold nights, though these are also beginning to invade. Instead, we are talking about the nature of the storms that deliver our precipitation. Continue reading
What is a drought?
A drought means different things to different people. Technically, a drought is a period of abnormally dry weather sufficiently long enough in a given area to cause a shortage of water, whether it is for crops, recreation, water supply utilities or other purposes. As you can imagine, a drought for someone who lives in a desert region would be very different than for a person living among Wisconsin’s many lakes. Continue reading
Are there different types of lightning?
Lightning is a huge electrical discharge that results from the rising and sinking air motions that occur in thunderstorms. Lightning can be either cloud-to-cloud or cloud-to-ground and is accompanied by thunder. Lighting also has different appearances. Continue reading