Category Archives: Climate

How is the Artic Sea ice situation?

The sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean is one of the key components of our climate system.

The brightness of the sea ice reflects more solar energy to space than open water. Global warming is amplified in the Arctic as the ice cover decreases. This is referred to as the ice-albedo feedback. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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Why did two meteorologists receive the Nobel Prize?

It was with great excitement that we learned last week that the Nobel Prize in Physics was shared among three scientists who had each made “groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of complex systems.” Two of the three so awarded were meteorologists, professor Syukuro (Suki) Manabe of Princeton University and professor Klaus Hasselmann of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology.

Together, they were cited for their work in “the physical modeling of Earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming.” Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology

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What impact did Sputnik have on weather monitoring and predictions?

Sixty-four years ago the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite. This was not welcome news in the United States as it confirmed that the Soviets were well ahead of us in the development of rocket technology. In fact, … Continue reading

Category: Climate, History

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What is the ozone hole?

Ozone is a colorless gas made up of three oxygen atoms (chemically denoted as O3). It occurs naturally in small amounts in the upper atmosphere (the stratosphere), about 18 miles above the surface.

Ozone in the stratosphere is a result of a balance between sunlight that creates ozone and chemical reactions that destroy it. Ozone is created when oxygen (O2), is split apart by ultraviolet energy emitted by the sun into single oxygen atoms. The single oxygen atoms can rejoin to make O2, or they can join with O2 molecules to make ozone. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Phenomena

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When does autumn begin?

The changes are subtle but apparent to the keen observer at this time of year — the first changes of color on trees, the earlier sunset and the rapid temperature drop that follows.

Summer is ending and fall is taking its place. This fact is formalized at 2:20 p.m. Wednesday when the autumnal equinox occurs. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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