Category Archives: Climate
As it turns out, predictions of the coming weather are nearly exclusively dependent on the observed conditions of the atmosphere in the day prior to the forecast period. Continue reading
Weather forecasting is a challenging and fascinating aspect of meteorology. An accurate forecast requires a thorough knowledge of all the variables of the atmosphere. There are also conservation principles of momentum, mass, energy and moisture, combined with the ideal gas law from chemistry that forecasters must consider.
The physical principles are represented as equations, and with current weather conditions, are used to solve for variables meteorologists care about — wind, temperature and precipitation. Computers are used in numerical weather prediction to solve these mathematical models to predict the weather based on current weather conditions. Continue reading
On average, the city is warmer than the countryside. This difference in temperature is referred to as the urban heat island effect. A number of factors contribute to the relative warmth of cities, such as heat from industrial activity, the thermal properties of buildings and the evaporation of water.
For example, the heat produced by heating and cooling city buildings, and running planes, trains, buses and automobiles contributes to the warmer city temperatures. Heat generated by these objects eventually makes its way into the atmosphere, adding as much as one-third of the heat received from solar energy. Continue reading
While we all contended with the remarkable and dangerous smoke in the sky this past week, we also wrapped up a record dry spell in Madison’s history.
The 61 days of May and June 2023 were the driest May and June ever, with a paltry 2.01 inches of total precipitation falling. The next closest rival on this ignominious list occurred in May and June 1992, when only 2.65 inches of rain fell during the two months. Individually, May and June were the sixth-driest May and June in Madison’s history, suggesting how rare it is for both of them to be so void of precipitation. Continue reading
Ozone (O3) is a molecule formed by three oxygen atoms.
Ozone that resides in the stratosphere absorbs ultraviolet rays of the sun, protecting life on Earth’s surface from these high-energy electromagnetic waves. O3 also can occur near the ground, where it is considered a pollutant, as it is a chemically reactive gas that can cause respiratory problems when breathed. Continue reading