Category Archives: Meteorology

Is there a “State Tournament Snowstorm” legacy?

A persistent anecdotal piece of weather lore around Madison is that the WIAA’s boys state basketball tournament is always accompanied by a snowstorm.

With the help of Edward Hopkins at the State Climatologist’s Office, we looked into this perception with cold, hard data. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons

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Is carbon dioxide a major contributor to global warming?

The Earth’s atmosphere is a mixture of many different gases. Several of these gases are known as “greenhouse gases” because they share the characteristic of being excellent absorbers of infra-red radiation.

Such gases absorb radiation emitted by the Earth that would otherwise escape to space and cool the planet. Upon being absorbed, these gases re-emit a fraction of that energy back downward to the surface, keeping the planet warmer than it would otherwise be. In fact, our Earth would have an average temperature of about zero without these greenhouse gases. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology

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How did this winter compare to others?

Now that the traditional winter season (December, January, February) is over, we can consider how this season stacked up against the preceding 69 winters in terms of its hemispheric intensity. One way to measure this intensity is to consider the … Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons, Uncategorized

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How is the ice cover on the Great Lakes?

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) monitors and reports on the ice coverage of the Great Lakes. The average concentration of ice on Lake Superior is currently 5.7 percent, compared to 4.6 percent last year and 55.5 percent in 2015. … Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Phenomena, Seasons

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How good are the groundhog predictions?

  For well over 100 years, the emergence of the groundhog in early February has stirred the imaginations of shivering, winter-stressed humans across the United States. Of course, no reasonable person harbors the expectation a rodent could best a human … Continue reading

Category: Meteorology

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