Category Archives: Meteorology

How unusual was last week’s cold snap?

Through Friday, Madison experienced 10 straight days with temperatures at or below 32 degrees, or freezing.

And though that streak was interrupted (delightfully) over the weekend, it appears we will experience a return to sub-freezing temperatures by Tuesday. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons

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What kind of winter are we expecting?

Seasonal climate forecasts rely heavily on established relationships between climate and key climate forcing mechanisms, such as El Niño.

On seasonal time scales, the influence on the atmosphere of ocean temperature anomalies such as El Niño or La Niña is probably the single most crucial forecast component. This is especially true for forecasts of Wisconsin winters. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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What location has the lowest average wind speed in the United States?

This question requires consideration of the number of factors that conspire to produce the wind.

Large-scale weather systems are perhaps the best-known features that impact the winds at a location. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology

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What happened during last week’s lunar eclipse?

What happened during last week’s lunar eclipse? Our recent lunar eclipse, visible in Madison at 5:25 a.m. Wednesday, resulted from the Earth being directly between the sun and the moon, thereby casting a shadow on the moon. The degree of … Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Phenomena

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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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