Weather

weather

Moving cars could help gauge rainfall

Accurate and timely rainfall measurements are crucial for the design of drainage systems, dams and other modern infrastructure. But rain gauges are often spread too sparsely to provide the necessary coverage in densely populated regions. In parts of Germany, for example, gauges equipped to make hourly readings are especially scarce — just one per 1,800 square kilometers. To help fill in the gaps, researchers at the Leibniz University of Hannover are developing an idea they call “RainCars” — using moving cars to measure rainfall.

23 Jul 2014

Scientists look wider and deeper to predict the next El Nino

Of all climate and weather phenomena, the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is not only one of the most well known for its impact on world climate and human life, but is also one of the most puzzling to scientists. For this reason, researchers have begun to take into account a much more global area of climate data than previously considered with the hopes of predicting El Niño or La Niña conditions sooner than is currently possible.

17 Apr 2014

Humans are influencing some extreme weather events, but not all

In 2012, the world experienced dozens of extreme weather events, including droughts, heat waves, cold spells, extreme rainfalls, big storms like Superstorm Sandy, and a record-low Arctic sea-ice extent. Teasing apart the factors that create extreme weather is a challenge for scientists, especially when it comes to determining whether human-induced climate change plays a role. Recently, 18 different research teams — comprising 80 scientists — took on that challenge.

16 Jan 2014

Trans-Niño years could foster tornado outbreaks

Individual tornadoes can’t be predicted, but new research relying on both historical records and meteorological computer modeling suggests that severe tornado outbreaks may be linked to specific weather patterns during so-called Trans-Niño years.

08 Sep 2013

Hurricane hunters fly toward improved storm forecasts

Hurricanes are one of the few natural disasters that strike with some advance notice. Forecasts can be made hours or even days ahead of landfall, giving communities time to prepare and evacuate. Nevertheless, the forecasts are not exact, and improving their accuracy — in terms of timing, location of landfall and wind intensity — poses an ongoing challenge. Two recent studies detailing the latest advances in data collection and assimilation may help improve forecasting as early as this year.
 
04 Aug 2013

Blogging on EARTH: Spring has sprung, at least in some places

Spring was nowhere to be found during my recent three weeks of travel through Europe; not in the olive orchards of southern Italy, the cobbled streets of Copenhagen, or the banks of the Danube as it winds through central Vienna. Instead, winter has dragged on stubbornly — the worst in 43 years — leaving behind relict patches of snow in shadowy alleys and warning new leaves not to adorn the bare branches of trees with vernal green.

19 Apr 2013

National Weather Service introduces impact-based warnings for tornadoes

Tornado damage threat: considerable or catastrophic?

On May 22, 2011, a column of rotating air spawned a massive EF-5 tornado, with wind speeds greater than 200 miles per hour, over the city of Joplin, Mo. The twister caught the city off guard, leaving 158 people dead and injuring more than 1,000 people, making it the deadliest tornado in the United States since record-keeping began in 1950. As the National Weather Service (NWS) surveyed the city following the tornado, they began considering ideas on how to better alert the public to the risks of dangerous weather events. After a successful test phase of one such idea, the agency is now expanding on its so-called “Impact Based Warnings” experiment.

15 Apr 2013

Blogging on EARTH: Congress considers severe weather policy options

It doesn’t take a geoscientist to know that severe weather impacts our lives. Tornadoes, hurricanes, windstorms, solar storms, droughts … the list goes on.

04 Apr 2012

Foretelling next month's tornadoes

Tornadoes are notoriously difficult to forecast, with often deadly results: In 2011, tornadoes in the U.S. killed more than 550 people, a higher death toll than in the past 10 years combined. Now a new study of short-term climate trends offers a new approach to tornado forecasting that may give people in tornado-prone regions as much as a month of forewarning that twisters may soon be descending.

02 Apr 2012

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