Articles

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
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
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
Sports and Lightning Safety
Sports and Lightning Safety

AMS Weather Band Advisory Committee member Coral Arroyo speaks with Chris Vagasky of Vaisala and the National Lightning Safety Council about safety for fans and staff during stormy games, lightning safety planning, and, of course, the Detroit Tigers. 

Call in the Birds! Collecting Meteorological Data using Avian Bioplatforms
Call in the Birds! Collecting Meteorological Data using Avian Bioplatforms

We are in desperate need of better meteorological data around cities. The lack of sufficient, fine scale observations for the urban boundary layer (UBL) region above and close to building height makes it difficult to improve meteorology and numerical weather prediction models for cities. Better data would have impacts for public health, localized flooding, and urban planning. And though much progress has been made in identifying and solving this problem, a number of challenges remain.

13 April Fool's Jokes for the Atmospheric, Space, and Weather Crowd
13 April Fool's Jokes for the Atmospheric, Space, and Weather Crowd

April Fool's jokes have been around since the 16th century, even though the origins of the practice are disputed. Whatever the beginnings might be, various people have created some incredible weather related pranks through the years. Here are just a few Weather Band favorites for your reading pleasure. 

Severe Cold Waves on the Texas Coast
Severe Cold Waves on the Texas Coast

Severe cold waves on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico are infrequent but of great moment. Human habitation and dress are not here adapted to extreme cold; cattle and other livestock are inadequately sheltered from winter extremes, and tropical fruits and winter truck are subject to extensive damage and occasional total destruction from abnormally low temperatures. In economic loss and human suffering, a severe cold wave, reaching our southern and southeastern borders, ranks with the hurricane.

By I.R. Tannehill
How to Get Started as an Amateur Weather Observer Part II: Mobile Phone Applications
How to Get Started as an Amateur Weather Observer Part II: Mobile Phone Applications

While there are many, many apps, I present here the best ones I’ve been able to find after quite a bit of trial and error. I’m sure there are others I’ve left out, but these work best for me.

By Ben May, Board Director of the National Weather Association Foundation
Can We Predict Weather on Mars as We Do on Earth?
Can We Predict Weather on Mars as We Do on Earth?

A very thrilling, nervous, and euphoric moment occurred back on February 18th with the touchdown of NASA’s Martian Perseverance Rover. The Perseverance Rover is a component of the larger Mars Exploration Program (MEP) and includes a robotic helicopter named Ingenuity. Perseverance confirmed a successful touchdown within the Jezero crater at 3:55 pm EST, ending a 204-day flight from Earth to its new home, Mars. Meteorological instruments, similar to the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) of the Martian rover, Curiosity, have begun recording surface air and ground temperature, wind speed and direction, pressure, relative humidity, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

By Dr. J. Cory Demko
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Prepares for Launch
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Prepares for Launch

A new target date for the James Webb Space Telescope is set for October 31, 2021 from French Guiana. This telescope will be an unparalleled space science observatory when it launches in 2021. This launch is an international effort, led by NASA together with the ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency. The telescope's launch will allow new insights into the mysteries and origins of our universe and our place in it. 

Hand Analysis in a Digital Age
Hand Analysis in a Digital Age

Dive into the fascinating history of weather maps with Barbara Mayes Boustead. In this presentation she reveals the science and process of hand analysis and discusses its relevance in a world of digital maps. 

Creating a Forecast for Your Location: Procedure and Analysis for the Amateur Weather Enthusiast
Creating a Forecast for Your Location: Procedure and Analysis for the Amateur Weather Enthusiast

I am approaching this particular blog post with a bit of consternation and reservation. Most of us are so enthralled by the progression of daily weather that we become amateur weather observers.

By Ben May, Board Director of the National Weather Association Foundation
Buoy Observations During the 1993 "Storm of the Century"
Buoy Observations During the 1993 "Storm of the Century"

Beginning on March 8, 1993, numerical weather prediction (NWP) models consistently predicted a deep winter storm for the eastern United States on March 13. These NWP models gave excellent advance notice and produced accurate forecasts of the storm track location. However, the model runs of March 13 considerably underforecast the deepening of the storm in the northeast Gulf of Mexico.

By David Gilhousen
A Smattering of Books for the Amateur Weather Enthusiast
A Smattering of Books for the Amateur Weather Enthusiast

I tend to go overboard for books. I value my library card more than my driver’s license. But then, I’m a book addict. 

There are so many books on meteorology that it can stagger the mind. You really don’t need to read a ton of books if you are an amateur, but you should get some orientation and familiarity with terms and processes.

By Ben May, Board Director of the National Weather Association Foundation
From Kamikaze to Katana: How Weather Protected Japan from Mongolian Invasion
From Kamikaze to Katana: How Weather Protected Japan from Mongolian Invasion

From culture to technology, typhoons changed the course of history in Japan. At the time of Genghis Khan’s death in 1227, the Mongolian Empire stretched east to west from The Pacific to the Caspian Sea and from southern Russia to Tibet. In the next 30 odd years, Mongolian leaders expanded the empire in all directions, with periodic contractions back to the capital of Karakorum in order to decide on succession and crown a new great khan. When Kublai Khan consolidated his power in 1264, Japan was squarely in his sights. The only thing that could stop him? The weather.  

By J. Neumann
Decoding the Sky: Identifying Clouds in Edvard Munch's The Scream
Decoding the Sky: Identifying Clouds in Edvard Munch's The Scream

Art has an interesting role to play in weather observing. Paintings, sketches, and other media can provide representation of clouds and other meteorological phenomena from before measurements and data collection instruments were standardized and widespread. William Ascroft’s pastel sketches from 1888 are an example of this. These sketches depict observations from Chelsea, London, on 26 November 1883 and show the effects of the eruption of Krakatau. The images capture the impact that aerosols high in the atmosphere have on the color of the sky. 

By Fred Prata, Alan Robock, and Richard Hamblyn
All the Colors of the Sky: Decoding Rainbows, Halos, and Coronas
All the Colors of the Sky: Decoding Rainbows, Halos, and Coronas

What do you see when you look up?

Clues to the state of the atmosphere are all around us if we know how and where to look. The rainbow is probably one of the best known signs as its brilliant colors and dramatic appearance make it hard to miss. But there’s more to rainbows than you might guess. If a halo or rainbow is observed in the sky, it is carrying information about the shapes, sizes, and/or composition of airborne particles. Each rainbow and rainbow-esque phenomenon carries its own specific information about the particles that generate it. This information is sometimes difficult to obtain from other sources. 

The streaks of color may not last long, and they occur at unpredictable times. But in cases where the actual state of the atmosphere at a certain moment is of importance, or when one is interested in knowing the composition of particles floating in the air, their observation may help. So remember that every time you see and photograph a rainbow, you’re making important observations about the world around you. 

By Gunther K├Ânnen
Batter Up! How Higher Temperatures Impact Baseball Stats
Batter Up! How Higher Temperatures Impact Baseball Stats

Forget the rain delays, temperature “is the most important meteorological variable affecting fly ball distances for MLB as a whole.” So concluded a 1995 study by Kraft and Skeeter that looked at temperature, humidity, and wind impacts on fly balls in Major League Baseball games. That study also found that batted fly balls in cool temperatures (at most 50°F) travel on average 16 ft less compared to warm temperatures (at least 90°F).

By Brandon Koch and Anna Panorska
Submit Your Photos to the AMS Weather Band Photo Contest
Submit Your Photos to the AMS Weather Band Photo Contest

It's official! We're inviting you to share your love of weather and photography in our very first AMS Weather Band photo contest!

The contest runs from May 31, 2021 to August 20, 2021. We're seeking photos of weather, water, and climate from the subtle to the extreme; think clouds, waves, storms, and other atmospheric, oceanic, or hydrologic conditions. We can't wait to see the weather moments and stories you've captured.