Monthly Archives: February 2022

How are we doing for snowfall this season?

Despite the persistence of snow and ice on the ground this winter, since our first real covering appeared just after Christmas Day, it has been a remarkably snowless winter thus far.

After Thursday night’s 2.7-inch snowfall, the season total for Madison rose to a paltry 21.4 inches, which places us well behind the average for the season to this point, which is 41.3 inches. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

Comments Off on How are we doing for snowfall this season?

How did the Tonga eruption affect the atmosphere?

Hunga Tonga erupted on Jan. 15 and lasted 11 hours.

It devastated the region, covering the land in a layer of ash. The eruption blasted a plume of ash and water vapor 34 miles into the atmosphere — into the mesosphere.

The Hunga Tonga plume contained only a very small amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2). Sulfur dioxide from volcanic mega-eruptions that reach high in the atmosphere can have an impact on global temperature. The mega-eruption of Pinatubo in 1991 released enough sulfur dioxide to cool the Earth’s surface for three years. The Tonga eruption will not have that kind of impact. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Phenomena

Comments Off on How did the Tonga eruption affect the atmosphere?

When was the National Weather Service created?

While successfully prosecuting the Civil War against the Confederacy, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had learned that weather information — even if not in the form of a forecast — was extremely valuable for operations.

Then, in the years after the war, Dr. Increase Lapham, a Milwaukee scientist, lobbied Milwaukee’s congressman, Gen. Halbert Paine, to push for the establishment of a storm warning service for the Great Lakes. On Feb. 2, 1870, Paine introduced a Joint Congressional Resolution requiring the Secretary of War “to provide for taking meteorological observations at the military stations in the interior of the continent, and at other points in the States and Territories … and for giving notice on the northern lakes and on the seacoast, by magnetic telegraph and marine signals, of the approach and force of storms.” Continue reading

Category: History, Meteorology

Comments Off on When was the National Weather Service created?

Do you read the “Farmer’s Almanac” for weather forecasts?

No, not seriously.

There are two publications of a “farmer’s almanac.” “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” has been in publication since 1792. Then there’s the “Farmers’ Almanac,” which has been in publication since 1818.

Both publications contain what is typical of almanacs in general — planting dates, tide tables, various astronomical and astrological information, content typically contained in almanacs. They also offer gardening tips as well as jokes and whimsical columns. These two publications also predict the general weather for the coming year. Continue reading

Category: History, Seasons

Comments Off on Do you read the “Farmer’s Almanac” for weather forecasts?