Category Archives: Seasons

Was July a record wet month?

It seems likely that most of us would consider this month of July to be an exceptionally wet one and, in many ways, that is true.

First of all, we have received measurable rain on 11 days this month and a trace of rain on six other days. Thus, well over half of the days this month have involved precipitation. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons

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Why does the sun melt ice on sidewalks even when the temperature is below freezing?

All objects exchange energy with their environment. They do this via conduction, advection, convection and radiation. If water is involved, a change in the water phase (liquid, solid or gas) also will involve an exchange of energy.

Conduction moves energy by physical contact. Convection results from hot air rising. Advection by the wind moves heat horizontally. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons

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How do you measure how hot the summer is?

One reasonable way to gauge how hot a summer season was is to consider how many days that year reached 90F or above. It turns out that this number is extremely variable here in Madison.

From 1971 to 2016, the average number of days at or above 90F in Madison is 10.9. As is often the case with statistics, however, the average does not convey a sense of the variability. A better way to express that variability is by calculating the standard deviation, which, when added to or subtracted from the average, sets a range in which approximately 2/3 of the years will fall. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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When is the summer solstice?

The summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere is the day when the sun is farthest north. In 2017, this occurs Tuesday at 11:24 p.m. Central Time. As Earth orbits the Sun, its axis of rotation is tilted at an angle … Continue reading

Category: Seasons

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Is the weather nicer on Memorial Day or Labor Day?

Memorial Day traditionally marks the beginning of the summer, while Labor Day marks the end.

People are bound to have their own recollections and opinions about which weekend more reliably delivers agreeable weather here in southern Wisconsin, and those opinions can be colored by many non-meteorological influences. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons

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