Category Archives: Meteorology
The cycle of daytime heating and night time cooling explains why, under most circumstances, calm winds are near the surface at night.
The wind usually increases with height above Earth’s surface. The wind several thousand feet above the ground is almost always stronger than that experienced near the ground. Friction causes the wind close to the ground to move more slowly. Friction decelerates the wind in the same way a rough road surface slows down a bicycle. Continue reading
This set of circumstances does not mean that her thermometer is faulty and in need of replacement. Instead, it reflects a nearly daily reality that goes undetected for most of the year until the cold season. It turns out that the air does not radiate heat away nearly as well as the solid ground beneath it. As a consequence of this difference, given 13 hours of nighttime with clear skies, the ground radiates a lot more energy away (and cools rapidly) while the air above struggles to cool as efficiently. Over those many hours, this difference results in a big difference between the ground temperature and the air temperature even as little as 5 or 6 feet above the ground. Continue reading
A gale is a strong, sustained wind impacting maritime weather.
Hurricane intensities are classified using the Saffir–Simpson scale, which rates hurricanes on a scale of 1 to 5 based on the damage their winds would cause upon landfall. Major hurricanes are those classified as Category 3 and higher on this … Continue reading
On Friday, the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison celebrated its 75th anniversary.
When the department was founded in June 1948, the modern science of meteorology was arguably just a few years old, and even basic understanding of the nature of the mid-latitude cyclones that batter us from October to May was truly in its infant stages. Continue reading