Articles

CHAT: The Colorado Hail Accumulation from Thunderstorms Project
CHAT: The Colorado Hail Accumulation from Thunderstorms Project

Deep hail accumulations, sometimes up to 50 cm in depth, have occurred frequently enough to catch the attention of the National Weather Service (NWS), the general public, and social/digital media outlets.

Despite the extreme nature of these storms, adequate reports or measurements of accumulated hail depth are currently not collected or archived, and products to track or forecast these events do not exist, preventing guidance from being issued to emergency responders, transportation departments, and the general public.

By Katja Friedrich, Robinson Wallace, Bernard Meier, Nezette Rydell, Wiebke Deierling, Evan Kalina, Brian Motta, Paul Schlatter, Thomas Schlatter, and Nolan Doesken
The Secrets of Thundersnow
The Secrets of Thundersnow

A new tool tracking lightning across the northern hemisphere is helping to change our understanding of the phenomenon called "thundersnow." Technically defined as, "a compound of the words ‘thunder’ and ‘snow’ used informally to describe an observation of snow at the surface that occurs with lightning and thunder" by the AMS Glossary of Meteorology, thundersnow occurs rarely and has been difficult to record. But data from the recently launched Geostationary Lightning Mapper promises to change all that.

Elevating Meteorological Understanding on Everest: Installing the Highest Weather Stations on Earth
Elevating Meteorological Understanding on Everest: Installing the Highest Weather Stations on Earth

Watch this presentation from the research team that installed the highest weather stations on earth: at the summit of Mount Everest. 

You'll also learn why there's such a desperate need for more high elevation weather observations and the challenges that the team faced in getting their gear where it needed to be.

By Baker Perry, Tom Matthews, Kyler Abernathy, Deepak Aryal, Dibas Shrestha, Arbindra Khadka, Aurora Elmore
Battle of the Ice: Sweden's Meteorological Defeat of Denmark in 1658
Battle of the Ice: Sweden's Meteorological Defeat of Denmark in 1658

Scandinavian history is one rich with battles, raids, and trade; all of which were impacted by weather conditions of the northern latitudes, especially the formation and break up of ice floes throughout the Northern and Baltic seas. This is a closer examination of one weather event that changed the course of Danish and Swedish history. 

By J . Neumann
Take More Sunshine!
Take More Sunshine!

A bit of health advice that was published especially for the weather weenies of 1928: 

"Heliotherapy is much more than a bath in sunlight," says Dr. Clarence L. Hyde. Treatment with artificial lights, while it may reproduce the rays, cannot equal actual sunlight treatment which is accompanied by changing air currents, differences in atmospheric temperatures and humidity, and constant variations in the sunlight itself.

Paleohurricane Records From The Bahamas
Paleohurricane Records From The Bahamas

Can the past reveal the future of hurricanes? The record-breaking hurricane season of 2020 has been only one reminder of the critical role that hurricane modeling plays in saving lives and reducing impacts. Looking backwards in time may provide some new clues for how to move forward with identifying how hurricanes form and propagate within a changing climate.

Atmospheric Studies from a Moving Weather Observatory
Atmospheric Studies from a Moving Weather Observatory

Vincent Schaefer's 1955 study on changes in atmospheric conditions between the base of a mountain and its peak was only one small facet of Project Skyfire. Originally aimed at reducing lightning caused fires in timber forests in the western United States, this project created a number of fascinating projects, including Schaefer's extensive research into cloud seeding. 

By Vincent Schaefer
Weather Patterns Associated with Pain in Chronic-Pain Sufferers
Weather Patterns Associated with Pain in Chronic-Pain Sufferers

Hippocrates (circa 400 BCE) wrote in On Airs, Waters, and Places that diseases had seasonal cycles and the health of city dwellers was affected by prevailing wind directions. Such ideas persisted until the eighteenth century. Today, a common belief among three-quarters of patients who suffer from chronic pain is that their daily pain levels fluctuate with the weather.

By David M. Schultz, Anna L. Beukenhorst, Belay Birlie Yimer, Louise Cook, Huai Leng Pisaniello, Thomas House, Carolyn Gamble, Jamie C. Sergeant, John McBeth, and William G. Dixon
How to Get Started as an Amateur Weather Observer: Educational Websites
How to Get Started as an Amateur Weather Observer: Educational Websites

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather”

-John Ruskin

Those of us who believe the truth of Ruskin’s words may not see all weather phenomena as good, but we do revel in it all, fascinated by the atmosphere’s daily march wherever we live.

By Ben May, Board Director of the National Weather Association Foundation
Five Decades of Particulate Air Pollution Health Effects Research
Five Decades of Particulate Air Pollution Health Effects Research

Douglas Dockery from the Harvard Chan School of Medicine covers 50 years of air pollution history and research in this fascinating talk. This includes a look at how energy production and the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s impacted human health and pollution research, and why the focus on PM2.5 particulates came to be. 

How to Produce Ice Crystals in Clouds
How to Produce Supercooled Water Droplets or Ice Crystals in Clouds

This paper from 1948 describes the laboratory experiment that Vincent Schaefer created for seeding a supercooled cloud and converting it to ice crystals. This was part of his work at the GE Research Laboratory in Schenectady, New York and provided the foundation for weather modification and cloud seeding experiments.  

By Vincent Schaefer
The Hidden Cost of Heat Waves: Citizen Science and the Harlem Heat Project
The Hidden Cost of Heat Waves: Citizen Science and the Harlem Heat Project

In an average year, high temperatures kill more people in the United States than all other weather-related phenomena combined (NOAA 2016), and in New York City two-thirds of heat-related deaths occur at home. Those most at risk are the ill and elderly, who tend to be home throughout the day. Yet few studies capture indoor residential temperatures in non-air-conditioned homes. 

By Brian Vant-Hull, Prathap Ramamurthy, Brooke Havlik, Carlos Jusino, Cecil Corbin-Mark, Matthew Schuerman, John Keefe, Julia Kumari Drapkin, and A. Adam Glenn
Life Changing Forecasts: Helping to Manage Meningitis in the West African Sahel
Life Changing Forecasts: Helping to Manage Meningitis in the West African Sahel

Meningitis epidemics have a devastating impact on the region and its people. Even with treatment, the fatality rate can exceed 10%, and 10%–20% of survivors experience long-term after effects including brain damage and hearing loss. Meningitis can push a family into severe poverty, which is especially significant in a region where the annual per capita income ranges from US$500 to US$1500. Weather forecasting can play a significant role in vaccination campaigns and prioritize where vaccines should be delivered. 

By Rajul Pandya, Abraham Hodgson, Mary H. Hayden, Patricia Akweongo, Thomas Hopson, Abudulai Adams Forgor, Tom Yoksas, Maxwell Ayindenaba Dalaba, Vanja Dukic, Roberto Mera, Arnaud Dumont, Kristen McCormack, Dominic Anaseba, Timothy Awine, Jennifer Boehnert,
March Events Around the Web
March Events Around the Web

A few events to look forward to on weather, weather research, and observation trainings: 

Become a Citizen Scientist

March 4, 7:00-8:00 PM EST

Join the National Weather Service Boston Office for an overview of how to get involved with weather and citizen science initiatives. This is focused on New England, but many of the opportunities apply across the country. You can also contact your local forecasting office for special initiatives in your area, or see below for ongoing events. 

The Future of Flight: Forecasting for Drones and Other Small Vehicles
The Future of Flight: Forecasting for Drones and Other Small Vehicles

In this fascinating talk, Matthias Steiner and his team take a look at weather hazards for emerging modes of air transportation in urban landscapes, like Uber's proposed aerial taxis, and Airbus' Urban Air Mobility planning. 

Recognizing that this is not something out of a Jetsons' cartoon, the research team has analyzed how current weather observations can support the future of small scale air travel. And whether the capabilities actually exist to bring these futuristic ideas into reality. 

Support the National Weather Museum!
Support the National Weather Museum

Support STEM education and an amazing weather community resource!

This weekend, Ross Forsyth, a director at the National Weather Museum, will be running 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours in a jog-a-thon style fundraiser to raise money to support the museum and their outreach to promote weather safety and the science of weather. The museum, located in Norman, Oklahoma, is home to the T28 storm penetrating radar, the Norman Doppler Radar, one-of-a-kind artifacts, and hands on learning to promote STEM education using weather concepts. They have Tim Samaras' Big Kahuna Camera on display and a flight simulator where visitors can fly a T-28. All proceeds go to supporting this one of a kind museum and their mission.

Making WAVES: Women Meteorologists in World War II
Making WAVES: Women Meteorologists in World War II

As World War II progressed, a shortage of technical officers left the U.S. increasingly vulnerable. In an effort to shore up defenses, what was then the U.S. Weather Bureau, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Navy began to recruit women hydrologists, mathematicians, and meteorologists.

By J.M. Lewis
"One of the coldest and most savage spots on earth": History and Records of the Automatic Weather Station on Denali
"One of the coldest and most savage spots on earth": History and Records of the Automatic Weather Station on Denali

On February 20th, 1989, a three-person team of Japanese mountaineers climbing the West Buttress route on Denali reached High Camp at 5243 m.a.s.l. The team leader, Noboru Yamada, was hoping to become the first person to summit the highest peaks of the seven continents in winter and was climbing with two other experienced mountaineers, Teruo Saegusa and Kozo Komatsu, on this occasion. The weather on the 20th had been relatively calm.

By Dr. Lea Hartl
Tracks of Low Pressure Areas from March 1888
Tracks of Low Pressure Areas from March 1888

11 March 1888: The Great Blizzard of 1888 paralyzes the East Coast from the Chesapeake Bay to Maine, dumping as much as 55 inches of snow with wind-whipped drifts of 30 to 40 feet. 

This chart shows the tracks of areas of low pressure from March 1888. The stipples are fog belts and the hash marks show where icebergs or field ice was observed!

Fern Kirkman: The First American Woman to Earn a Degree in Meteorology
Fern Kirkman: The First American Woman to Earn a Degree in Meteorology

Fern Kirkman, a graduate of Hunter College in New York City, had entered NYU's College of Engineering in 1937. Once the Department of Meteorology was created, she immediately enrolled. She received the master's degree in June 1939 and became the first woman in the United States to earn a degree in meteorology.

By J.M. Lewis
History and Records of the Automatic Weather Station on Denali Pass Part II: The Data
History and Records of the Automatic Weather Station on Denali Pass Part II: The Data

This is Part II of the series by Dr. Lea Hartl discussing the history and data records of the automatic weather station on Denali Pass. If you missed Part I, follow this link

By Dr. Lea Hartl
Mission Critical: Weather Prediction for Space Launches
Mission Critical: Weather Prediction for Space Launches

How does a rocket get to space? For that, it needs the help of a very special team of weather forecasters. 

The 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron (45 WS) provides comprehensive weather services to America’s space program at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and Patrick Air Force Base. These services include weather support for pre-launch, launch, post-launch, routine weather forecast, 24/7 watches/warnings, flight briefings, and special missions. 

By William Roeder
#SafePlaceSelfie: Saving Lives One Selfie at a Time
#SafePlaceSelfie: Saving Lives One Selfie at a Time

If you could help get every American to take one preparedness action to protect themselves from extreme weather, what would it be?

Many weather safety experts would say taking the time to identify your safe place is the most essential preparedness activity. All the warnings and emergency kits and communication plans become less important if you don’t know where to go to stay safe. This is true for tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, lightning, tsunamis, rip currents, and every other natural hazard. 

By Douglas Hilderbrand, Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador Lead
A Day in the Life of Stratocumulus
A Day in the Life of Stratocumulus

Perhaps one of the most important yet unappealing cloud types is stratocumulus. Although they create overcast skies that impose a sense of gloom, they also serve an important function in the heat balance of the earth. This cloud type covers more of the earth’s surface than any other at approximately 20% on an average annual basis. Small reductions or increases in its coverage can cause changes on the same order as greenhouse gases

By Ted Best
"Our Weather Is Not the Only Weather"

Much of the continental United States shivered through a cold February- and we were not alone. According to the NCEI (National Centers for Environmental Information), the average temperature across the entire globe will go down as the coldest February since 2014.

The global temperature anomaly map below clearly shows that we took the brunt of it in the USA, especially in the Great Plains through the American Midwest. In Texas, this record-breaking cold manifested to devastating effects, with massive power outages and water line failures

By Erica Grow