Category Archives: Meteorology
Rock ’n’ roll is older, although not by much.
On May 6, 1955, a revolution that continues to this day began with little fanfare: the first daily weather forecasts made by a computer were issued. This was the result of nearly a year of collaborative effort between the United States Weather Bureau, the Air Force and the Navy in what was called the Joint Numerical Weather Prediction Unit, or JNWPU. Continue reading
We are not sure we can, but we have always wanted to do so! In the past, people rang bells or fired cannons to prevent lightning or cause rain — producing sound and fury but nothing in the way of success.
The scientific era of weather modification took hold in the 1940s and ’50s with the advent of cloud-seeding experiments. In cloud seeding, airplanes drop particles of dry ice or silver iodide into clouds with temperatures below freezing. These particles are very effective in generating ice particles, with the hope of increasing the amount of rainfall or snowfall. Continue reading
The jet stream is a ribbon of high wind speeds near the top of the troposphere (about 6 miles above the surface of the Earth). The major jet streams flow west to east. The existence of fast winds moving from west to east was long suspected because of the movement of storms, cloud systems and volcanic debris high in the atmosphere. Continue reading
An atmospheric river is a term used to describe a relatively narrow region in the atmosphere that transports water vapor outside of the tropics northward. They are typically a few thousand miles long and 100 miles wide. There can be three to five of these “rivers” at any time covering the hemisphere. Continue reading
Ice pellets are a form of precipitation. They are small, translucent or clear balls of ice. Ice pellets are rain drops that have frozen before they hit the ground. When they hit the ground, they bounce. Ice pellets are also called sleet and can be accompanied by freezing rain. Continue reading