Monthly Archives: January 2022

How does this winter measure up so far?

Two of the more popular (and telling) measures of the severity of a winter are extremes of cold and the presence of snow.

One reasonable way to consider extremes of cold might be to count the number of mornings on which the temperature drops below zero. So far this winter (defined as beginning on Dec. 1), we have had just five such mornings here in Madison. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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Is permafrost permanent?

Permafrost is ground that has a temperature below freezing for at least two consecutive years.

Permafrost varies in thickness from less than a couple of feet to more than 4,000 feet thick. Permafrost is mostly located in polar regions, although it also occurs in some high mountains where it is called alpine permafrost. Much of the permafrost in Alaska is tens of thousands of years old. Continue reading

Category: Climate, History

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How common are extreme winds in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains?

This winter has already delivered some notable disasters, and it is important to carefully consider the anatomy of such high impact weather events in order to, as accurately as possible, understand to what degree an event is attributable to the … Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Phenomena, Weather Dangers

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