Articles

Can A Hedgehog Forecast Rain?
Can a Hedgehog Forecast Rain?

While the scientific methods have varied a great deal, weather forecasting has been a subject of human endeavor for as long as we have written records! Ancient forecasters used everything from cloud observations to jellyfish sightings to predict the weather and help them make their most important decisions on topics from going to war to sowing crops. 

By AMS Staff
Developing Tools for Forecasting and Communication: The Human Role in their Design
Developing Tools for Forecasting and Communication: The Human Role in their Design

There have been many changes in the role of humans in the forecast process in recent years and many new roles that have been created in this era of social media, smart technology, and artificial intelligence. This webinar series details how humans will use machine learning and other techniques to develop tools that will assist forecasters, not replace them.

By Falko Judt, Greg West, Pat Market, Dan Nietfeld, Robert Hoffman, Neil Stuart
Science is Cool and It Helps People
Science is Cool and It Helps People

AMS 2018 Keynote Speaker Richard Alley joins us to share his enthusiasm for science and science communication.

By Richard Alley
Some Welcoming Remarks
Some Welcoming Remarks

The Weather Band is for all of us who are fascinated with the wide range of phenomena we see in the atmosphere, from the power of hurricanes to the delicacy of a dendritic snowflake.

By Keith Seitter
The Today Show's First Forecast on Television
The Today Show's First Forecast on Television

Watch TODAY anchor Dave Garroway deliver the national weather forecast via telephone and by hand.

By The Today Show
Interview with Jill Pelto
Interview with Jill Pelto

We sat down with artist and science communicator Jill Pelto to learn more about her background and fieldwork, her artistic process, and why she sees art as the key to connecting more audiences to science. 

Are Hurricanes Getting Worse?
Are Hurricanes Getting Worse?

To scientists who study them, there are two mysteries surrounding hurricanes that stand above the rest: Why do they exist at all, and why aren’t there many more of them? This may strike you as a paradox, but these are serious questions that arise when burrowing deep into the theory, modeling, and observations of these storms. And they bear on the question posed by the title of this essay.

By Dr. Kerry Emanuel
The 1938 Hurricane
1938 Hurricane

The Great New England Hurricane of 1938 undoubtedly IS the one to which all other New England hurricanes are sooner or later compared. There have only been three others of comparable combined strength and widespread devastation since the colonization of the region.

By Dr. Lourdes Avil├ęs
Shock Troops of Disaster: WPA and the 1938 Hurricane
Shock Troops of Disaster: WPA and the 1938 Hurricane

Watch the original film on relief efforts by the Workers Progress Administration to help communities along the East Coast of the United States recover from the "whirling, shrieking vortex of high wind and heavy rain" caused by the massive hurricane of 1938. 

The Value of Volunteer Observations for Tracking Heavy Rain in Mesoscale Convective Systems
The Value of Volunteer Observations for Tracking Heavy Rain in Mesoscale Convective Systems

In his book, Cloud Dynamics, Robert Houze quotes Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn:

“The fifth night below St. Louis, we had a big storm after midnight, with the power of thunder and lightning, and the rain poured down in a solid sheet.”  (Houze, Cloud Dynamics, Academic Press, 1993). The likelihood is that Twain's story was recounting a common occurrence in the Midwest summer: what we know today as the mesoscale convective system or MCS, a conglomeration of thunderstorms that often reach a peak in the middle of the night.

By Ted Best
The Iguanas Are Falling
The Iguanas Are Falling

Well, it’s that time of year again. The National Weather Service in Miami has issued an unofficial warning for falling iguanas the week of Christmas. 

From Fear to Forecasting: How I Learned to Love Tornadoes
From Fear to Forecasting: How I Learned to Love Tornadoes

If you know me, it’s no secret that my love of tornadoes runs deep. Ever since I saw my first funnel cloud at two years old, I’ve wanted to be a meteorologist. I knew I didn’t want to be a broadcaster, I wanted to do “behind-the-scenes” research on tornadoes.

 

What is a secret though is that I’m deathly afraid of tornadoes.

By Alyssa Reynolds
Setting a National Temperature Record at Loma, Montana
Setting a National Temperature Record at Loma, Montana

On January 14th-15th, 1972, a National Weather Service (NWS) cooperative observer (COOP) site located in Loma, Montana recorded a 103F degree temperature change (-54F to 49F) within twenty-four hours, thereby breaking the previous record of 100F recorded on January 23rd-24th, 1916 in Browning, Montana. 

By Andrew Horvitz, Scott Stephens, Michael Helfert, Grant Goodge, Kelly T. Redmond, Ken Pomeroy and Ed Kurdy
"What If?" Or The Importance of Standards
"What If?" Or The Importance of Standards

What if weather observations were made differently in each country, or even by State or region? 

We compare observations to understand weather phenomenon in order to predict future conditions and document historical ones. If each location took their observations differently, we would never be able to understand what we are looking at.

By Paul M. Fransioli, CCM
Weather in a Pen Stroke
Weather in a Pen Stroke

Before today’s technology was available, skilled technicians plotted cloud and atmospheric observa­tions on weather maps by hand. New observations arrived over telegraph or Teletype, and the plotter would create a new map each time. The information arrived in an alphanumeric code, and the plotter would have to decode and record the correct data at the location of each station. The information had to be entered quickly in order for the plotted map to be current. It also had to be entered in a universally accepted format, and it had to be legible so that the analyst could use the plotted map.

By Robert Houze and Rebecca Houze
Perils of Free Ballooning Make Great Adventure
PERILS OF FREE BALLOONING MAKE GREAT ADVENTURE

On May 30, at exactly 5 P. M., Eastern Standard Time, a great throbbing sigh, followed by a ringing cheer, went up from the multitudinous assemblage gathered at Bettis Field, Pa., for it was then that, in the words of the program, the first racing balloon "leaped into space."

By Lieutenant William O. Eareckson
1929 Balloon Race
1929 Balloon Race

Get a view of the balloons and pilots from the six countries competing in the Gordon Bennett International Balloon race in 1929. 

For a first hand account of the race of 1928, read then Lieutenant William Eareckson's story of the winning balloon ride.

Film from the Prelinger Archives in San Francisco

Wilder Weather: Data and Science in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Novel "The Long Winter"
Wilder Weather: Data and Science in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Novel "The Long Winter"

Even tall tales have their facts, but in historical fiction the myriad factual details often far outshine the story itself. In the ever popular books of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the telling details turn out to be the truly epic—and real—weather of the past. Recent research led by Barbara Mayes Boustead (University of Nebraska—Lincoln) has begun documenting how Wilder’s book The Long Winter, isn’t just good history wrapped into a great novel. It’s also valuable climate data.

Sun or Shade? How Forecasting Changed Ski Racing at the 2010 Winter Olympics
Sun or Shade? How Forecasting Changed Ski Racing at the 2010 Winter Olympics

Sunlight and shadowing alter the groomed snow surfaces used for ski racing in a variety of ways. The impacts of sun and shade can be seen on everything from the way the course is prepared and how the cameras are positioned for television broadcasting all the way down to the ski chosen for the race and the type of wax placed on that ski. 

By Rosie Howard and Roland Stull
Wind Patterns in a Warming World
Wind Patterns in a Warming World

During Bob Henson’s recent Weather Band webinar looking at the August 10, 2020 derecho event that tore through the midwest of the United States, one of the questions that came up was “how is climate change impacting wind events?” As Mr. Henson explained, not only are derecho events hard to predict, but based on current research it is impossible to answer how they are being altered by climate change.

Weather and Death on Mount Everest
Weather and Death on Mount Everest

With a height of 8,848 m, Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world. For over a century, it has been the subject of exploration for both scientific and recreational purposes. This exploration began in earnest with the British expeditions during the early part of the twentieth century.

By G.W.K. Moore and John L. Semple
Wings Over Everest
Wings Over Everest
Weather and Death on Mount Everest: Part II
Weather and Death on Mount Everest: Part II

Following on from Part I of Weather and Death on Everest, there follows here an indepth look at the meteorological foundations of the storm and the resulting physiological effects on the mountaineers

Analyzing the Into Thin Air Storm

From the 8th to the 13th of May 1996, the summit temperature on Mount Everest underwent an approximate 10°C drop.

By G.W.K. Moore and John L. Semple
What's Your Favorite Weather Myth?
What's Your Favorite Weather Myth?

Meteorologist Janice Huff takes a look at some of the most common weather myths around and shares some great weather knowledge while she's at it.

Do you have a favorite myth or saying that you've debunked? Discuss in the Weather Band community

Explore Gravitational Waves with New Interactive Illustration
Explore Gravitational Waves with New Interactive Illustration

The first gravitational waves ever recorded appeared in 2015. They propagated outward from the merger of two black holes; altering the fabric of space and time around them, and confirming another of Einstein's predictions.