Category Archives: Phenomena

What is the ozone hole?

Ozone is a colorless gas made up of three oxygen atoms (chemically denoted as O3). It occurs naturally in small amounts in the upper atmosphere (the stratosphere), about 18 miles above the surface.

Ozone in the stratosphere is a result of a balance between sunlight that creates ozone and chemical reactions that destroy it. Ozone is created when oxygen (O2), is split apart by ultraviolet energy emitted by the sun into single oxygen atoms. The single oxygen atoms can rejoin to make O2, or they can join with O2 molecules to make ozone. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Phenomena

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Why do tornadoes happen in hurricanes?

When hurricanes make landfall, they can spawn tornadoes.

The friction over land is much stronger than friction over water, where the hurricanes form. Frictional force quickly weakens the farther you get from the ground. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Phenomena, Severe Weather, Tropical

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Do car tires protect you from lightning strikes?

Lightning is a huge electrical discharge, or spark, that results from vigorous motions that occur in thunderstorms. While you can be safe in a car in a lightning storm, it is not because of the tires. Rubber tires do act … Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Phenomena, Weather Dangers

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Can space dust affect our atmosphere?

Space contains tons of dust. When dust particles approach Earth, they can be captured by gravity and enter the atmosphere at very high speeds.

Particles with diameters larger than about 2 millimeters undergo very rapid heating through collisions in our atmosphere. As they heat up, they can produce a short-lived trail of light known as “shooting star.” Most dust particles entering the atmosphere are estimated to be much smaller than this and don’t provide a visible trail. Continue reading

Category: History, Meteorology, Phenomena

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Does it rain only on Earth?

It does precipitate on other planets and moons in our solar system.

On Earth, when particles fall from clouds and reach the surface as precipitation, they do so primarily as rain, snow, freezing rain or sleet. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Phenomena

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