Articles

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. 

Catastrophic Midwest Derecho of August 10, 2020
Catastrophic Midwest Derecho of August 10, 2020

Explore the meteorology behind the most destructive thunderstorm complex in U.S. history in this exciting webinar with renowned meteorologist and science writer Bob Henson. 

By Bob Henson
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
FIU "WOW" Factor
FIU "WOW" Factor

Erik Salna, M.S., Associate Director of Education and Outreach, Extreme Events Institute (EEI) and International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC), Florida International University (FIU), Miami, Florida presents on hurricane safety research and innovation at FIU's Wall of Wind

May Events
May Events

Join us for a variety of events throughout May. We've got an amazing conversation with Lt. Col. Nicole Mitchell, formerly of the Hurricane Hunters, to celebrate Hurricane Preparedness Week, and the Weather Band will be hosting instrument companies for Q&A sessions beginning May 19th and continuing into June. 

November 10, 1967: NASA's First Color Picture of the Earth
November 10, 1967: NASA's First Color Picture of the Earth

Photography has been an important tool in the atmospheric sciences since it was invented, and as photography advanced, so too did the quality of weather observations. The very first color photograph of the earth from a satellite came from the U.S. Air Force's DODGE satellite that was launched in 1967.

 

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
Thunderstorm Photography Webinar: Capturing the Storm One "Flash" at a Time
Thunderstorm Photography Webinar: Capturing the Storm One "Flash" at a Time

Featuring Jeremy Bower of JRBStorm Photography and Paul Smith of Paul M. Smith Photography, it covers tips and tricks for thunderstorm photography as well as the larger role that photography plays in education and safety messaging. 

Webinar: Blizzards of 1978
Webinar: Blizzards of 1978

This is part of a webinar collaboration with the Blue Hill Observatory!

In this webinar the speakers look back at the impacts and effects of the storms of 1978 in the Ohio Valley, and especially on the east coast of the United States. 

Lake Effect Snow:  The Most Intense Snow On Earth
Lake Effect Snow: The Most Intense Snow On Earth

Join Warning Coordination Meteorologist Erik Heden as he covers the processes behind lake effect snow, how to forecast lake effect snow, and some historical lake effect storms that have occurred.

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
Cloud Tracker: Satellite Imagery and the Pioneering Work of Tetsuya Fujita
Cloud Tracker: Satellite Imagery and the Pioneering Work of Tetsuya Fujita

Today we rely so heavily on satellite imagery for understanding, predicting, and maintaining life-safety in weather, that it's hard to imagine a world without it. But until the 1960s, there was no satellite imagery, let alone the richly colored images of atmospheric movement that we see everyday.

In addition to his well known and groundbreaking work on tornadoes and aviation safety, Tetsuya Theodore (Ted) Fujita was a pioneer in using satellite imagery to understand and analyze atmospheric motion. He created methods for analyzing satellite images that allowed observers to accurately diagnose wind movement using pictures from the early Television Infrared Observation Satellite (TIROS) launches. He also developed laboratory techniques that facilitated cloud motion analysis.

By W. Paul Menzel
Q&A with Davis Instruments
Q&A with Davis Instruments

Learn more about Davis Instruments and the materials they have for beginning weather observers as well as advanced practitioners. This session covers the Vantage Vue (as an entry level station), Vantage Pro2 (for the more serious), WeatherLink Live (getting your data to the Cloud) and the WeatherLink (app/web for viewing data) and also introduces AirLink (their new air quality sensor).

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. 

Tags: cruising
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
Tags: cruising
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
Tags: cruising
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
Tags: cruising
Q&A with WeatherFlow
Q&A with WeatherFlow

Take an in depth look at the Tempest system, including its unique weather station hardware design and associated applications for amateur observers, in this presentation from WeatherFlow.

You'll also learn about the wide range of applications for the WeatherFlow systems:  from leveraging data science to inspect, curate, enhance, calibrate and qualify dependable data from the network; assimilating qualified data into hi-res modeling to improve performance with ground truth data; applying machine learning to post process model output and improve accurate for site specific forecasting; to delivery of real-time, historical, and forecasted weather data via API.

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
Q&A with Maximum Weather Instruments
Q&A with Maximum Weather Instruments

Explore Maximum Weather Instrument’s array of beautiful, handcrafted weather instruments and preconfigured weather stations for your home or business. Learn more about the history of the company, how their instruments work in different packages, and what new products are being released soon. The discussion walks through how the Maximum instruments are used, how to site your instruments, and what observation and data collection partnerships Maximum is prioritizing for reporting and analysis.

Lightning Megaflashes Leave Nowhere to Hide
Lightning Megaflashes Leave Nowhere to Hide

New research locates geographic hotspots for lightning “megaflashes.”

Technically defined as “a mesoscale lightning flash that is at least 100 km long” megaflashes can span hundreds of miles and create multiple lightning strikes far away from the convective core of thunderstorms, coming seemingly out of the blue or calm gray skies. This phenomenon has only recently been described and is still the subject of research. By exploring megaflash characteristics and locating the areas where these types of strikes most often occur, this study argues for the need to increase the precision and effectiveness of lightning safety warnings.