Category Archives: Climate

How was our summer weather?

The average global temperature of July set highs — it was the warmest month on record since record keeping began in 1880.

The observed ocean surface temperature was the highest for any month in the 1880-2015 record period. The average temperatures over land were also above the average for the 20th century, ranking as the sixth-warmest July since 1880. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons

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Are presidential candidates’ views on climate change correct?

The observational evidence that the Earth is warming is overwhelming and unmistakable.

Surface observations of temperature over land and ocean have shown that all but one of the 15 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000. the average length of the ice season on a collection of widely distributed Northern Hemisphere lakes, each with at least 150 years of continuous record, has decreased by over two weeks. The areal extent of the Northern Hemisphere’s wintertime cold pool has systematically shrunk in the last two winters recording the smallest seasonal average cold pool areas since records began in 1948-1949. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Uncategorized

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Do volcanic eruptions impact climate and weather?

There are some spectacular photographs and videos of the recent eruption of Calbuco in Chile. The impact of the eruption on our weather and climate depends on how explosive the eruption and how much sulfur dioxide is in the volcanic plume.

Eruptions can lead to cooler temperatures in the mountain’s vicinity. As the ash cloud enshrouds nearby regions, it will reduce the amount of solar energy reaching the surface and thereby reduce the daytime temperatures. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Phenomena, Weather Dangers

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What is permafrost?

Permafrost is ground that is frozen for at least two years. It remains frozen all year and contains plant material that has not yet completely decomposed.

Permafrost is mostly located in polar regions, though it also occurs in some high mountain tops where it is called alpine permafrost. There is no permafrost in Madison, though our ground does freeze in most winters. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons

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How severe has this winter been?

Last year we experienced a persistently cold winter (December-January-February) that ended up being the coldest since 1979.

This year has been different. The Midwest Regional Climate Center is experimenting with what they are calling the Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index (AWSSI), which incorporates temperature, snowfall and snow depth to rate the severity of winter. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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