Category Archives: Climate

What was 2017 weather summary?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has completed its scientific analysis and the globally averaged surface temperature for 2017 was the third-highest since record keeping began in 1880.

The warmest year is 2016, and 2015 is the second warmest. Since 1977 global temperatures have been at least nominally above the 20th century average. The six warmest years on record have occurred since 2010. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology

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Did climate change kill the dinosaurs?

Sixty-six million years ago, the age of the dinosaurs ended abruptly, coinciding with the extinction of about 75 percent of the total number of living species.

Evidence and climate modeling indicate that global wildfires resulted from a collision with a massive asteroid that could have lofted large amounts of soot into the atmosphere. The smoke would have plunged Earth into darkness for nearly two years, which would have shut down photosynthesis, drastically cooled the planet, and contributed to the mass extinctions as evidenced in the fossil record. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Phenomena

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What’s happening with the ozone hole?

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

Category: Climate, Phenomena

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What does the State of the Climate Report tell us?

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

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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How do you measure how hot the summer is?

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

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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