Category Archives: Seasons

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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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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Is human activity impacting global climate?

The observational evidence that our Earth is warming is overwhelming and unmistakable. Earth scientists agree that in the past 200-plus years, human activity has been a significant contributing factor to the observed increase in mean global temperatures. Scientists cannot explain this increasing temperature trend without incorporating human impacts, primarily the burning fossil fuels.

Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist, was probably the first scientist to propose that burning fossil fuels could modify our global temperatures. He recognized that carbon dioxide (CO2), a byproduct of burning carbon-based substances such as natural gas, gasoline and oil, is like a greenhouse gas and that increasing the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere through human activities could lead to a warmer Earth. He made this estimate in 1896. So, we have been aware of the fundamental physics of global warming for over 100 years. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons

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Was the whole autumn unusually warm, or just November?

If you thought November was warmer than usual around southern Wisconsin, you were exactly right.

Madison averaged 7.6 degrees above normal for the month, which ranked as the third warmest November on record (since 1870). Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons

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