Category Archives: Climate

Are we seeing evidence of climate change?

Last week was an alarming week in weather and climate news.

Hurricane Sally bore down on the Gulf Coast with fury and flooding, while four other tropical storms churned away simultaneously in the Atlantic. This is only the second time ever, and first since 1971, when such prolific tropical storminess has characterized the Atlantic basin. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons

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What is the Farmer’s Almanac forecast for winter?

The Farmers’ Almanac recently published its 2020-2021 winter forecast. For the Midwest region, it predicts a cold winter with normal to below-normal temperatures.

But don’t count on its forecast, as there is no proven skill. The Farmers’ Almanac does not share how it makes its forecast, so it cannot be judged scientifically. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons

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Why is Memorial Day weather so fickle?

Memorial Day weekend weather can be absolutely glorious in Wisconsin or it can be rainy and cold.

Perhaps no other major holiday suffers from such a Jekyll-and-Hyde split in our expectations, and there are really good scientific reasons that underlie this duality. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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Is the reduction in air traffic affecting the weather?

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a reduction in air traffic. This reduction has had at least two impacts so far, one relating to the exhaust from aircraft engines and the other to weather forecasts.

Exhaust from aircraft engines can be seen sometimes as condensation trails, or contrails. The exhaust of an aircraft contains both gas and tiny particles called aerosols. Both of these are important in the formation of contrails. Contrails form when water vapor condenses and freezes around the small particles that exist in aircraft exhaust. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Phenomena

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Did spring come early this year?

Astronomically, spring occurs when the sun’s rays strike the equator at noon at an angle that is directly overhead.

This particular time varies from year to year due to variations in Earth’s orbit about the sun. In the Northern Hemisphere, the vernal, or spring, equinox (“equi” meaning “equal,” and “nox,” “night”) occurs sometime between March 19 and 23, but often on March 20 or 21. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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