Author Archives: WeatherGuys Editor

How does this winter measure up so far?

Two of the more popular (and telling) measures of the severity of a winter are extremes of cold and the presence of snow.

One reasonable way to consider extremes of cold might be to count the number of mornings on which the temperature drops below zero. So far this winter (defined as beginning on Dec. 1), we have had just five such mornings here in Madison. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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Is permafrost permanent?

Permafrost is ground that has a temperature below freezing for at least two consecutive years.

Permafrost varies in thickness from less than a couple of feet to more than 4,000 feet thick. Permafrost is mostly located in polar regions, although it also occurs in some high mountains where it is called alpine permafrost. Much of the permafrost in Alaska is tens of thousands of years old. Continue reading

Category: Climate, History

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What is the winter solstice?

The winter solstice (In Latin, sol, “sun,” and stice, “come to a stop”) is the day of the year with the fewest hours of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere.

In 2021, this occurs for the Northern Hemisphere on Dec. 21 at 9:59 a.m.

As Earth orbits the sun, its axis of rotation is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees from its orbital plane. Because Earth’s axis of spin always points in the same direction — toward the North Star — the orientation of Earth’s axis to the sun is always changing as Earth orbits around the sun. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons

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What do we know about the deadly tornado outbreak of last week?

The devastating tornado outbreak that visited Kentucky and Illinois overnight Friday into Saturday morning has left a tragically large death toll in its wake.

Officials estimated Sunday that more than 100 people may have lost their lives to this event, though the recovery of some survivors later in the day gave hope the number might be lower. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons, Severe Weather

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What kind of autumn did we have temperature-wise?

The pre-winter months of September-October-November (SON) have recently come to an end with some points of interest to be made about the average temperature both locally and around the entire Northern Hemisphere.

Here in Madison, these three months have been quite distinct from each other with September’s average temperature rising 1.7 degrees above normal and October’s rising to 5.5 degrees above normal. Continue reading

Category: Uncategorized

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