Solar Eclipses Can (Slightly) Change Weather on Earth
It has been known that with the sun being partially (or fully) obscured by the moon, solar eclipses can result in about 5˚F cooler temperatures within they shadows, but evidence to whether it could alter the weather through these changes was fleeting, until a recent study.
The study, by Giles Harrison and Suzanne Gray of University of Reading, analyzed an August 1999 total solar eclipse that affected Europe. The duo gathered weather data from the eclipse’s path and compared it to a forecast that they had created, using pre-eclipse conditions and computer modeling, which did not factor in the possible change due to the eclipse.
According to their comparison, the areas affected experienced a decrease in wind of about 1.6 miles per hour and a direction change of about 20˚ more southerly. But don’t fret, their aren’t going to be any eclipse-related cyclones, like H. Helm Clayton claimed in 1901.

Solar Eclipses Can (Slightly) Change Weather on Earth

It has been known that with the sun being partially (or fully) obscured by the moon, solar eclipses can result in about 5˚F cooler temperatures within they shadows, but evidence to whether it could alter the weather through these changes was fleeting, until a recent study.

The study, by Giles Harrison and Suzanne Gray of University of Reading, analyzed an August 1999 total solar eclipse that affected Europe. The duo gathered weather data from the eclipse’s path and compared it to a forecast that they had created, using pre-eclipse conditions and computer modeling, which did not factor in the possible change due to the eclipse.

According to their comparison, the areas affected experienced a decrease in wind of about 1.6 miles per hour and a direction change of about 20˚ more southerly. But don’t fret, their aren’t going to be any eclipse-related cyclones, like H. Helm Clayton claimed in 1901.

A roll cloud off of the coast of Brazil. These clouds form alongside thunderstorm downdrafts and bizarre sea winds. Despite its intimidating appearance, these clouds are both rare and entirely harmless. Read more about these clouds here.

A roll cloud off of the coast of Brazil. These clouds form alongside thunderstorm downdrafts and bizarre sea winds. Despite its intimidating appearance, these clouds are both rare and entirely harmless. Read more about these clouds here.

Pictured above is a picture from a visualization from the Advanced Visualization Laboratory’s planetarium film “Dynamic Earth”. The film investigates the inner workings of these powerful natural forces by basing its visualizations off satellite monitoring data and advanced supercomputing simulations. It explores the workings of Earth’s climate, following a trail of energy that flows from the sun into the atmosphere, oceans and the biosphere. (via)

Pictured above is a picture from a visualization from the Advanced Visualization Laboratory’s planetarium film “Dynamic Earth”. The film investigates the inner workings of these powerful natural forces by basing its visualizations off satellite monitoring data and advanced supercomputing simulations. It explores the workings of Earth’s climate, following a trail of energy that flows from the sun into the atmosphere, oceans and the biosphere. (via)

This cloud formation, seen over the bering sea just off of the coast of Russia, is known as cloud streets. According to LiveScience, they occur “when air blows over ice on land and then travels over warmer ocean water, leading to parallel cylinders of spinning air. On the upper edges of these cylinders, clouds form, while skies stay clear on the downward side. Winds warp the cloud streets, resulting in the curves seen over open sea.”

This cloud formation, seen over the bering sea just off of the coast of Russia, is known as cloud streets. According to LiveScience, they occur “when air blows over ice on land and then travels over warmer ocean water, leading to parallel cylinders of spinning air. On the upper edges of these cylinders, clouds form, while skies stay clear on the downward side. Winds warp the cloud streets, resulting in the curves seen over open sea.”

Lenticular cloud formations, seen over Rocky Mountain Natural Park in Colorado, are tinted brilliant colors due to the setting sun in early January. These clouds are characterized by their smooth, symmetrical oval or round shapes, and because of this, are often referred to as “flying saucer” or “UFO” clouds. 
When moist, quickly moving air is pushed upwards by winds, these lenticular clouds are formed. These formations only occur in mountain ranges, as in the mountain’s higher altitude, the moist air’s water droplets cool and expand, and the water vapor condenses. The air then proceeds over the mountain top and descends to uniformly humid air conditions. 
Photographer Richard H. Hahn stated, “the significance of this particular atmospheric event was the dramatic shape and color of the cloud. It really did look like the ‘mother ship’ UFO. It was ominous and breathtaking.”

Lenticular cloud formations, seen over Rocky Mountain Natural Park in Colorado, are tinted brilliant colors due to the setting sun in early January. These clouds are characterized by their smooth, symmetrical oval or round shapes, and because of this, are often referred to as “flying saucer” or “UFO” clouds. 

When moist, quickly moving air is pushed upwards by winds, these lenticular clouds are formed. These formations only occur in mountain ranges, as in the mountain’s higher altitude, the moist air’s water droplets cool and expand, and the water vapor condenses. The air then proceeds over the mountain top and descends to uniformly humid air conditions. 

Photographer Richard H. Hahn stated, “the significance of this particular atmospheric event was the dramatic shape and color of the cloud. It really did look like the ‘mother ship’ UFO. It was ominous and breathtaking.”

Tired of Inaccurate Weather Forecasts? US Weather Radar Network Gets an Upgrade

After a year that saw hundreds of Americans killed in severe weather, a new radar system is being installed at all 160 National Weather Service forecast offices around the USA.
 
The weather radar will be used to better predict, identify and forecast all forms of precipitation and storms, including the biggest killers: tornadoes, flash floods and hurricanes.
"This is the most significant upgrade to the nation’s weather radar network since Doppler radar was first installed in the early 1990s," said Jack Hayes, weather service director.
The new radar, known as “dual-polarization” or “dual pol,” should help forecasters better pinpoint the type of precipitation and the rate at which it is falling, as well as better identify tornadoes.
"Dual-polarization technology provides significantly more information and clearer pictures of current weather conditions, helping weather service meteorologists provide more accurate and timely forecasts," Hayes said.

Tired of Inaccurate Weather Forecasts? US Weather Radar Network Gets an Upgrade

After a year that saw hundreds of Americans killed in severe weather, a new radar system is being installed at all 160 National Weather Service forecast offices around the USA.

The weather radar will be used to better predict, identify and forecast all forms of precipitation and storms, including the biggest killers: tornadoes, flash floods and hurricanes.

"This is the most significant upgrade to the nation’s weather radar network since Doppler radar was first installed in the early 1990s," said Jack Hayes, weather service director.

The new radar, known as “dual-polarization” or “dual pol,” should help forecasters better pinpoint the type of precipitation and the rate at which it is falling, as well as better identify tornadoes.

"Dual-polarization technology provides significantly more information and clearer pictures of current weather conditions, helping weather service meteorologists provide more accurate and timely forecasts," Hayes said.


In August 2006, a NASA satellite captured this image of three angry sisters in the western Pacific Ocean. This trio of storms formed within three days of each other. The youngest storm, Typhoon Bopha (top) is barely organized into a tropical storm, with no eye and only the most basic round shape. Tropical Storm Maria (bottom right) is a day older and has formed a central eye and a spiral shape. The most powerful of the triplets, Typhoon Saomai (bottom left) is fully formed and roaring with winds around 85 miles per hour (140 kilometers per hour). Typhoon Saomai would hit the Philippines, Taiwan and the east coast of China, causing $2.5 billion in damage and almost 500 deaths. According to the World Meteorological Organization, Saomai was a 100-year storm and the most powerful typhoon ever to make landfall over mainland China. 

In August 2006, a NASA satellite captured this image of three angry sisters in the western Pacific Ocean. This trio of storms formed within three days of each other. The youngest storm, Typhoon Bopha (top) is barely organized into a tropical storm, with no eye and only the most basic round shape. Tropical Storm Maria (bottom right) is a day older and has formed a central eye and a spiral shape. The most powerful of the triplets, Typhoon Saomai (bottom left) is fully formed and roaring with winds around 85 miles per hour (140 kilometers per hour). 

Typhoon Saomai would hit the Philippines, Taiwan and the east coast of China, causing $2.5 billion in damage and almost 500 deaths. According to the World Meteorological Organization, Saomai was a 100-year storm and the most powerful typhoon ever to make landfall over mainland China. 

Link Between Earthquakes and Tropical Cyclones
A groundbreaking study led by University of Miami scientist Shimon Wdowinski shows that earthquakes, including the recent 2010 temblors in Haiti and Taiwan, may be triggered by tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons).
 
"Very wet rain events are the trigger," said Wdowinski, associate research professor of marine geology and geophysics at the UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. "The heavy rain induces thousands of landslides and severe erosion, which removes ground material from the Earth’s surface, releasing the stress load and encouraging movement along faults."
Wdowinski and a colleague from Florida International University analyzed data from quakes magnitude-6 and above in Taiwan and Haiti and found a strong temporal relationship between the two natural hazards, where large earthquakes occurred within four years after a very wet tropical cyclone season.
During the last 50 years three very wet tropical cyclone events — Typhoons Morakot, Herb and Flossie — were followed within four years by major earthquakes in Taiwan’s mountainous regions. The 2009 Morakot typhoon was followed by a M-6.2 in 2009 and M-6.4 in 2010. The 1996 Typhoon Herb was followed by M-6.2 in 1998 and M-7.6 in 1999 and the 1969 Typhoon Flossie was followed by a M-6.2 in 1972.
The 2010 M-7 earthquake in Haiti occurred in the mountainous region one-and-a-half years after two hurricanes and two tropical storms drenched the island nation within 25 days.
The researchers suggest that rain-induced landslides and excess rain carries eroded material downstream. As a result the surface load above the fault is lessened.
"The reduced load unclamp the faults, which can promote an earthquake," said Wdowinski.
Read More

Link Between Earthquakes and Tropical Cyclones

A groundbreaking study led by University of Miami scientist Shimon Wdowinski shows that earthquakes, including the recent 2010 temblors in Haiti and Taiwan, may be triggered by tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons).

"Very wet rain events are the trigger," said Wdowinski, associate research professor of marine geology and geophysics at the UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. "The heavy rain induces thousands of landslides and severe erosion, which removes ground material from the Earth’s surface, releasing the stress load and encouraging movement along faults."

Wdowinski and a colleague from Florida International University analyzed data from quakes magnitude-6 and above in Taiwan and Haiti and found a strong temporal relationship between the two natural hazards, where large earthquakes occurred within four years after a very wet tropical cyclone season.

During the last 50 years three very wet tropical cyclone events — Typhoons Morakot, Herb and Flossie — were followed within four years by major earthquakes in Taiwan’s mountainous regions. The 2009 Morakot typhoon was followed by a M-6.2 in 2009 and M-6.4 in 2010. The 1996 Typhoon Herb was followed by M-6.2 in 1998 and M-7.6 in 1999 and the 1969 Typhoon Flossie was followed by a M-6.2 in 1972.

The 2010 M-7 earthquake in Haiti occurred in the mountainous region one-and-a-half years after two hurricanes and two tropical storms drenched the island nation within 25 days.

The researchers suggest that rain-induced landslides and excess rain carries eroded material downstream. As a result the surface load above the fault is lessened.

"The reduced load unclamp the faults, which can promote an earthquake," said Wdowinski.

Read More

Snowflakes as You’ve Never Seen them Before

  1. Stellar Plate Snowflake These are thin, plate-like crystals with six broad arms that form a star-like shape. Their faces are often decorated with amazingly elaborate and symmetrical markings. Plate-like snowflakes form when the temperature is near -2 °C or near -15 °C. Such snowflakes are common.
  2. Sectored Plate Snowflake This is a stellar plate snowflake, but with particularly distinctive ridges that point to the corners between adjacent prism facets.
  3. Stellar Dendrite Snowflake with Branches These are fairly large crystals, typically 2-4mm in diameter so easily seen with the naked eye. These are the most popular snow crystal type, seen in holiday decorations everywhere.
  4. Fern-Like This snowflake has fernlike stellar dendrites - the branches of the stellar crystals have so many sidebranches that they look like ferns. These are the largest snow crystals, often falling to earth with diameters of 5mm or more. Despite their large size, these are single crystals of ice - the water molecules are lined up from one end to the other. The best powder snow, where you sink to your knees while skiing, is made of stellar dendrites. These crystals can be extremely thin and light, so they make a low-density snowpack.
  5. 12-Sided Snowflake This is actually two snowflakes joined together - one rotated at 30 degrees relative to the other. Such snowflakes are quite rare.
  6. Rime Crystal Clouds are made of countless water droplets and sometimes these droplets collide with and stick to snow crystals. The frozen droplets are called rime.

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