Monthly Archives: November 2012
In 1803, British pharmacist and chemist Luke Howard devised a classification system for clouds. It has proved so successful that meteorologists have used Howard’s system ever since, with minor modifications. According to his system, clouds are given Latin names corresponding to their appearance — layered or convective — and their altitude. Clouds are also categorized based on whether or not they are precipitating. Continue reading
As the remnants of Superstorm Sandy approached us on Oct. 29, people in Wisconsin observed a halo on two consecutive nights. These halos resulted from the ice clouds generated from the storm.
A halo is a whitish ring that encircles but does not touch the sun or moon. It is an optical phenomenon that owes its existence to the bending of light by ice crystals, much like the “rainbow crystals” you may hang in your windows. Continue reading
A nor’easter is an extratropical cyclone that affects the northeastern United States and extreme eastern Canada. An extratropical cyclone is a low-pressure system that forms outside of the tropics and is usually associated with fronts, unlike a tropical cyclone. A nor’easter is named for the strong northeasterly winds that blow across this region as the path of the low pressure moves northeastward, slightly to the east of the North American coastline. Continue reading
Nearly a week after Hurricane Sandy struck the Mid-Atlantic coast of the United States, the affected region is still reeling from the shock. This really was an unprecedented storm in the truest sense of that word.
Among the amazing aspects of the event was the extraordinarily accurate and early forecasting of the storm. Numerical forecast models were latching on to the correct scenario, including the unusual and rapid leftward turn off the Mid-Atlantic coast, as early as five to seven days before the event (depending on the particular model in question). Continue reading
While a single wind turbine is unlikely to confuse a radar return signal, a wind farm, particularly one 20 square miles or larger, will pose a problem. For example, the radar returns from the weather radar in Sullivan continually measures what looks to be a rain cloud to the north. This signal is always there and is the location of a wind farm. Continue reading