Category Archives: Climate

Is human activity to blame for climate change?

A recent debate between candidates for Congress in the Wisconsin’s 1st District — U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, and Democratic challenger Rob Zerban — included questions about the role of human beings in producing discernible changes in the climate over the last 150 years.

Unfortunately, this question, which is a matter of evidence, analysis and conclusion as all scientific questions are, has become a source of partisan political divide. Continue reading

Category: Climate

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What is the status of the ozone hole?

Ozone occurs about 18 miles above the surface. Ozone is both caused by and provides protection from damaging ultraviolet energy emitted by the sun. The development of an atmospheric “ozone layer” allowed life to move out of the oceans and onto land.

The ozone hole occurs high over the continent of Antarctica. It is not actually a hole, but rather the appearance of very low values of ozone in the stratosphere. Typically, the Antarctic ozone hole has its largest area in early September and lowest values in late September to early October. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology

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Do September temperatures foretell the nature of the winter?

After the recent abnormally cold period, which has left us 3.2 degrees colder than normal thus far in September, a lot of people have been wondering if September temperatures can be a harbinger of what is to come in the winter.

Everyone recalls last winter as a persistently cold season during which we experienced a four-month period (December 1 – March 31) with an average temperature that was 7.44 degrees below normal. Interestingly, last September was 2.7 degrees above normal and last October was 1.0 degrees above normal. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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How does the Farmer’s Almanac make its forecasts?

The Farmer’s Almanac makes seasonal forecasts and recently came out with its winter forecast.

The Farmer’s Almanac does not share how it makes its forecasts so it cannot be judged scientifically. There is no proven skill of its forecast accuracy. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons

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What causes urban flooding?

Urban flooding occurs when water flows into an urban region faster than it can be absorbed into the soil or moved to and stored in a lake or reservoir. It can be caused by flash flooding, coastal flooding, river floods or rapid snow melt.

On Tuesday, the Madison area experienced urban flooding caused by an intense rainfall. On that day, a daily record rainfall of 1.46 inches fell at Dane County Regional Airport, breaking the city’s previous May 27 record of 1.27 inches. The city sewage system and draining canals did not have the necessary capacity to drain away the large amounts of rain that fell in a short period of time. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Phenomena

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