Author Archives: WeatherGuys Editor

How fast do raindrops fall?

Gravity pulls everything downward. As an object falls, it experiences a frictional drag that counters the downward force of gravity.

When the gravity and frictional drag are balanced, we have an equilibrium fall speed that is known as the terminal velocity of the object. The terminal velocity depends on the size, shape and mass of the raindrop and the density of the air. Thus, it is worth talking a bit about the shape and size of raindrops. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology

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Does lightning add nitrogen to the soil?

Yes, lightning adds nitrogen to soil, but not directly.

The atmosphere’s composition is 78 percent nitrogen, but the nitrogen in the air is not available to our bodies. The two atoms in the airborne nitrogen molecule are held together very tightly. For our bodies to process that nitrogen, the two atoms must separated. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology

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Is warmer air ‘heavier’?

We are now in the heart of the baseball season and even the casual fans begin to tune in a bit more regularly to the summer game. One of the long-standing pieces of baseball wisdom suggests that the heat and humidity of oppressive summer heat waves render the air “heavy” and lead to a decrease in offensive power, particularly in home runs.

The veracity of this “wisdom” is testable. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Phenomena

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Did weather forecasting play a role in D-Day?

Wednesday was the 74th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Europe that began with the landings on the beaches at Normandy.

The combined land, air and sea assault of June 6, 1944, remains the largest such event in history. The success of the invasion was extraordinarily dependent on weather conditions. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology

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If we stopped emitting carbon dioxide right now, would Earth stop warming?

No. Objects, even the atmosphere, will warm as long as the energy gains exceed the energy losses to their environment.

When the energy gains balance the energy losses, the object’s temperature remains constant. If the carbon dioxide levels were to suddenly remain constant, the atmosphere would continue to warm. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology

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