Category Archives: Climate

What does a warm fall portend about winter?

Most of the weather experts we know have rated this fall’s weather as reasonably benign in our region. The past month’s average temperature here in Madison was 1.9 degrees above normal, which rounded out a fall season (September through November) … Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons

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What is the prediction on the rise of sea level?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, routinely monitors sea level and makes predictions of how it will change with time. The observations are based on a combination of tide gauge data and satellite observations.

Continuously tracking how and why sea level is changing is an important part of informing plans for adaptation to global changes. In a recent speech, former President Donald Trump falsely stated that “the ocean will rise 1/8 of an inch over the next 200 to 300 years.” Continue reading

Category: Climate, Severe Weather

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What’s behind November’s 70-degree days?

As the spectacular fall weather continued into November last week we saw temperatures soar into the 70s on the first three days of the month before plummeting back to more normal levels with the passage of a cold front on Saturday afternoon.

The three consecutive days — Nov. 1, 2, and 3 — represented only the fourth time in Madison’s weather history that at least three consecutive days in November registered high temperatures at or above 70 degrees. All of the other instances have occurred since 2008 — Nov. 3-5, 2008; Nov. 2-4, 2015, and the all-time longest such streak, which occurred Nov. 5-9, 2020. In addition, the latest-ever 70-degree day in a Madison November occurred on Nov. 17, 2016. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons

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Will we hit 80 degrees again this year?

We will not see 80 degrees again this year.

The last time Madison was officially 80 degrees or warmer was Sept. 21, the last official day of summer. In fact, 13 of the first 21 days of last month we were at least that warm — fairly remarkable. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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Can dust from Africa reach the United States?

Yes. Soil-derived aerosols, or dust, are abundant in our atmosphere. One source of dust is sandstorms over the Sahara. These storms whip small pieces of mineral dust from the desert into the atmosphere. Easterly winds then carry large plumes of Saharan dust away from the desert and over the Atlantic Ocean.

This weather system is referred to as a Saharan air layer, or SAL, and at times dust in the SAL has traveled to the Caribbean, Texas and Florida. Desert dust from the Sahara and Gobi deserts has been observed on the ice sheet of Greenland. Ice cores in Greenland provide a history of the dust deposition as it appears as layers in the ice. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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