Category Archives: Climate
Encouraging news arrived this week regarding the size of the Southern Hemisphere ozone hole. NASA reported that this year’s ozone hole (which peaked on Sept. 11 at 7.6 million square kilometers) was the smallest since 1988, just years after the problem was first identified.
Though a number of factors contribute to the annual size of the ozone hole, it is beyond doubt that the leading factor is the reduction of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), industrial chemicals long used for refrigeration among other things. Continue reading
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its 27th annual State of the Climate report Thursday, and it was full of attention-grabbing news.
Topping the list was the fact that analysis of global temperature measurements revealed that 2016 bumped 2015 as the warmest year in 137 years of record keeping. In fact, 2016 was the third consecutive year of record warmth. Continue reading
One reasonable way to gauge how hot a summer season was is to consider how many days that year reached 90F or above. It turns out that this number is extremely variable here in Madison.
From 1971 to 2016, the average number of days at or above 90F in Madison is 10.9. As is often the case with statistics, however, the average does not convey a sense of the variability. A better way to express that variability is by calculating the standard deviation, which, when added to or subtracted from the average, sets a range in which approximately 2/3 of the years will fall. Continue reading
President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord last Thursday is a disheartening blow to the longstanding idea that sound science should play a role in the formation of public policy in our country.
This notion, in fact, was central to the creation of the National Academy of Sciences by the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Lincoln and the Congress charged the Academy with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. Continue reading
Sitting nearly in the middle of the vast North American continent, Madison has what is known as a continental climate. Continental climates are characterized by large annual extremes in temperature and humidity as well as very distinct seasons.
The continental nature of Madison’s climate is what makes a year’s worth of weather in Madison usually a lot more varied than a year’s worth in, say, Seattle. Continue reading