Monthly Archives: July 2022

Are heat waves increasing?

A heat wave is a period of abnormally and uncomfortably hot and usually humid weather.

The World Meteorological Organization is specific in its definition by stating that a heat wave is when the daily maximum temperature for more than five consecutive days exceeds the average maximum temperature by 9 degrees. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Severe Weather

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What causes lightning?

Charges form in a storm composed of ice crystals and liquid water drops. Winds inside the storm cause particles to rub against one another, causing electrons to be stripped off, making the particles either negatively or positively charged.

The charges get grouped in the cloud, often negatively charged near the bottom of the cloud and positively charged up high. This is an electric field, and because air is a good insulator, the electric fields become incredibly strong. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Phenomena, Severe Weather

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What happens to the wintertime cold pool in summer?

We have commented a number of times in the past few years about the areal extent of the hemispheric cold pool of air at 850 mb — about 1 mile above the surface — during the winter. As one might expect, that pool expands dramatically from October through February and then begins to contract as we move toward spring and summer.

Our analysis uses the minus 5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit) isotherm (line of constant temperature) and has shown that the average winter cold pool area has systematically shrunk in the past 75 years. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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Are there ideal conditions for fireworks?

The Fourth of July holiday often is celebrated with community fireworks shows, as well as some backyard fireworks. Fireworks have a broad range of good weather conditions in which to be set off and viewed.

Rain has multiple possible effects on fireworks. Fireworks get very hot. For example, when lit, the tip of a sparkler has a temperature of 1,200 degrees; so once lit, it would take a very heavy rain to extinguish the firework. Damp conditions from rain can hamper the lighting of some fireworks. Continue reading

Category: Uncategorized

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