Category Archives: Meteorology

Are computers used in weather forecasting?

Weather forecasting is a challenging and fascinating aspect of meteorology. An accurate forecast requires a thorough knowledge of all the variables of the atmosphere. There are also conservation principles of momentum, mass, energy and moisture, combined with the ideal gas law from chemistry that forecasters must consider.

The physical principles are represented as equations, and with current weather conditions, are used to solve for variables meteorologists care about — wind, temperature and precipitation. Computers are used in numerical weather prediction to solve these mathematical models to predict the weather based on current weather conditions. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology

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Do birds get struck by lightning?

Yes, birds do get struck by lightning, although it’s not very common. When birds are flying during a storm, they are exposed to lightning strikes and thus can get hit directly. Birds will typically avoid flying in a thunderstorm. They … Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Severe Weather

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What are the trade winds?

On the morning of August 3, 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail on his first voyage to the Americas. He sailed south along the west coast of Africa, searching for the easterly “trade winds,” discovered earlier by the Portuguese, that would propel his fleet westward toward what he thought was India.

The trade winds are a component of a global-scale tropical circulation feature known as the Hadley cell. This cell is driven by the fact that the equator is heated more intensely than latitudes to its north and south, resulting in the production of collections of thunderstorms girdling the globe roughly along the equator. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Phenomena, Tropical

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Why are cities hotter than the surrounding rural areas?

On average, the city is warmer than the countryside. This difference in temperature is referred to as the urban heat island effect. A number of factors contribute to the relative warmth of cities, such as heat from industrial activity, the thermal properties of buildings and the evaporation of water.

For example, the heat produced by heating and cooling city buildings, and running planes, trains, buses and automobiles contributes to the warmer city temperatures. Heat generated by these objects eventually makes its way into the atmosphere, adding as much as one-third of the heat received from solar energy. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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Can ChatGPT forecast the weather?

Yes, ChatGPT can create weather forecasts, but the real question will be their accuracy.

People have started exploring how to use ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence methods to experiment with forecasts. This is not surprising as we have always needed weather forecasts and humans have used many techniques over the decades. Some of the earliest forms of forecasts were short rhymes, and, although memorable, were often of uneven quality. Continue reading

Category: History, Meteorology

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