Tag Archives: Meteorology

Which is older: rock ’n’roll or computerized weather forecasting?

Rock ’n’ roll is older, although not by much.

On May 6, 1955, a revolution that continues to this day began with little fanfare: the first daily weather forecasts made by a computer were issued. This was the result of nearly a year of collaborative effort between the United States Weather Bureau, the Air Force and the Navy in what was called the Joint Numerical Weather Prediction Unit, or JNWPU. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology
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Can humans control the weather?

We are not sure we can, but we have always wanted to do so! In the past, people rang bells or fired cannons to prevent lightning or cause rain — producing sound and fury but nothing in the way of success.

The scientific era of weather modification took hold in the 1940s and ’50s with the advent of cloud-seeding experiments. In cloud seeding, airplanes drop particles of dry ice or silver iodide into clouds with temperatures below freezing. These particles are very effective in generating ice particles, with the hope of increasing the amount of rainfall or snowfall. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology
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What is the jet stream all about?

The jet stream is a ribbon of high wind speeds near the top of the troposphere (about 6 miles above the surface of the Earth). The major jet streams flow west to east. The existence of fast winds moving from west to east was long suspected because of the movement of storms, cloud systems and volcanic debris high in the atmosphere. Continue reading

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What is an “atmospheric river”?

An atmospheric river is a term used to describe a relatively narrow region in the atmosphere that transports water vapor outside of the tropics northward. They are typically a few thousand miles long and 100 miles wide. There can be three to five of these “rivers” at any time covering the hemisphere. Continue reading

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How do citrus farmers battle the cold?

Last week was one of the coldest of the season in the southeast United States. Though not as bad as prior cold air outbreaks in late January or early February, such events have been known to present a substantial threat to the citrus industry in Florida. The problem is that when the temperature gets below freezing, the fruit itself can freeze rendering it substantially less valuable to the market. Continue reading

Category: Climate
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