Category Archives: Meteorology

When does fall begin?

Even the least observant person has probably recognized by now that the days are growing shorter.

In fact, on Friday at 3:02 p.m., we will reach the autumnal equinox and the night will be as long as the day for the first time since late March. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons

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Why is lightning white?

Lightning is a huge electrical discharge.

Static charges form in a storm composed of ice crystals and liquid water drops. Turbulent winds inside the storm cause particles to rub against one another, causing electrons to be stripped off, making the particles either negatively or positively charged. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Phenomena, Severe Weather

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Is UW-Madison involved in hurricane forecasting?

Hurricane Harvey is the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma hit Florida in October 2005.

Harvey made landfall early Saturday morning as a Category 4 storm with estimated sustained winds of 130 mph and gusts to 150 mph. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Severe Weather, Tropical

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Why is the sky blue?

All the attention of today’s eclipse has raised interest in the sky’s color.

To understand why the sky is blue, we need to understand a little about light. Light is a form of electromagnetic energy. This form of energy does not need matter to propagate. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Phenomena

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What does the State of the Climate Report tell us?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its 27th annual State of the Climate report Thursday, and it was full of attention-grabbing news.

Topping the list was the fact that analysis of global temperature measurements revealed that 2016 bumped 2015 as the warmest year in 137 years of record keeping. In fact, 2016 was the third consecutive year of record warmth. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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