Monthly Archives: June 2023
What holds the clouds up in the air and what makes some clouds appear to be fluffy on top but flat on the bottom?
One of our readers awoke to some beautiful clouds in the summer sky recently and two excellent questions popped into her mind: What holds the clouds up in the air and what makes some clouds appear to be fluffy on top but flat on the bottom?
Clouds are composed of tiny liquid water droplets — whose diameters are about the width of a human hair — and tiny shards of ice in a variety of shapes, or habits. Whether a cloud is mostly liquid water droplets or ice particles depends, as you might guess, on the ambient temperature of the air in the cloud. Continue reading
Fires require something to burn plus air to supply oxygen and a heat source to get the fuel to its ignition temperature.
Once a fire starts, weather is one factor of how it will spread and if it will grow. The important weather factors are temperature, wind and humidity. Warmer temperatures allow fuels to ignite quickly, and low humidity keeps the fuel dry and easy to burn. Wind brings oxygen to the fire and also can help to spread it. Continue reading
Ozone (O3) is a molecule formed by three oxygen atoms.
Ozone that resides in the stratosphere absorbs ultraviolet rays of the sun, protecting life on Earth’s surface from these high-energy electromagnetic waves. O3 also can occur near the ground, where it is considered a pollutant, as it is a chemically reactive gas that can cause respiratory problems when breathed. Continue reading
The just completed month of May was quite unusual in southern Wisconsin this year.
First, it was a bit cooler than normal, with the average temperature ending up 0.6 degrees below normal. Dryness over central and western Canada brought large wildfires to those areas much earlier than normal this year, and the smoke from those fires gave us a number of orangey sunrises and sunsets this past month, which are more normal in July and August. Continue reading