Category Archives: Meteorology

What was Madison’s coldest day?

Today is the 66th anniversary of the coldest day in Madison’s history.

On Jan. 30, 1951, the temperature in the city reached a morning low of minus 37 degrees. That is far below any temperature we have experienced in the city in the last 25 or more years. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons, Severe Weather

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Why does the morning low temperature sometimes occur after sunrise?

Those who keep a particularly vigilant eye on the weather might have noticed that on certain mornings, in all seasons, the lowest temperature is often recorded just after sunrise.

One of us had a morning paper route as a boy and was puzzled for years about this seemingly counterintuitive phenomena. How could the temperature continue to fall for the few minutes after sunrise on a cold winter morning? Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Phenomena

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Did the notion of numerical weather prediction turn out as originally expected?

The urgency to defeat fascism in World War II resulted in an explosion of technological innovations. A good number of the resulting inventions have had direct application to weather forecasting, including radar and the rise of the computer.

It isn’t well known that the first efforts to harness this emerging computing power to the problem of weather prediction, launched in the United States and Great Britain, were driven primarily by a desire to control the weather. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Severe Weather

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What is the status of the Arctic sea ice?

The year 2016 will go down as one with below-normal Arctic sea ice coverage.

While not quite a record-setting year like 2012, throughout much of 2016 the extent of sea ice was more than two standard deviations below the average. At the end of October the Arctic sea ice was at its lowest coverage for the month since satellite-based data records started in 1978. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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Is Madison’s all-time latest freeze record in jeopardy?

With all the beautiful fall weather we enjoyed through October and the first week of November, it may have escaped notice that Madison’s temperature has not reached or dropped below the freezing point of 32 degrees yet this season.

In fact, by not having done so this morning, we are now tied for the second-latest first freeze ever, dating back to 1938. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons

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