Weather & Climate

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Located above the surface of our planet is a complex mixture of gases and suspended liquid and solid particles known as the atmosphere. Operating within the atmosphere is a variety of processes we call weather. Some measurable variables associated with weather include air temperature, air pressure, humidity, wind, and precipitation. The atmosphere also contains organized phenomena that include things like tornadoes, thunderstorms, mid-latitude cyclones, hurricanes, and monsoons. Climate refers to the general pattern of weather for a region over specific period of time. Scientists have discovered that human activities can influence Earth’s climate and weather producing problems like global warming, ozone depletion, and acid precipitation.

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Air Quality and Paved Surfaces Widespread urban development alters weather patterns Research focusing on the Houston area suggests that widespread urban development alters weather patterns in a way that ... More »

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Global picture of greenhouse gases A three-year series of research flights from the Arctic to the Antarctic has successfully produced an unprecedented portrait of greenhouse gases and particles in the... More »

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Handling summer heat If you plan on being out and about in summer, chances are you’ll be exposed to a lot of sun and higher temperatures. Each year, heat kills 1,500 people on average in... More »

Satellite Tracks Severity of African Drought AQUA Satellite Tracks Severity of African Drought Northeast Africa continues to reel from the effects of the worst drought to strike the region in decades. The arid... More »

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War and climate cycles Climate Cycles Are Driving Wars, Says Study When El Niño Warmth Hits, Tropical Conflicts Double In the first study of its kind, researchers have linked a natural... More »

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Earth's Clouds Lowering This image of clouds over the southern Indian Ocean was acquired by NASA’s polar-orbiting Terra spacecraft. The featured study revealed an overall trend of decreasing... More »

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Derecho (Weather & Climate) Two types of derecho may be distinguished based largely on the organization and behavior of the associated derecho-producing convective system. The type of derecho most often... More »

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Seasonal Drought: Southern United States NOAA: Persistent Drought to Linger Across Southern United States While wet and snowy weather has dominated the western U.S., persistent drought conditions are likely to... More »

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Antarctic Ice: An 800,000 Year Record of... Antarctic Ice: An 800,000 Year Record of Climate Change provides an extraordinary opportunity for scientists to reconstruct climate events of the past. Scientists have recently... More »

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State of the Climate in 2011 Worldwide, 2011 was the coolest year on record since 2008, yet temperatures remained above the 30 year average, according to the 2011 State of the Climate report released online by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Back-to-back La Niñas cooled globe and influenced extreme weather in 2011 The lead character of the 2011 climate story was a double dip La Niña, which chilled the Pacific at the start and end of the year. Many of the 2011 seasonal climate patterns around the world were consistent with common side effects of La Niña. More information. Worldwide, 2011 was the coolest year on record since 2008, yet temperatures remained above the 30 year average, according to the 2011 State of the Climate report released online today by NOAA. The peer-reviewed report, issued in coordination with the American Meteorological Society (AMS), was... More »

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Climate Literacy- The Essential Principles of Climate Sciences Climate Science Literacy is an understanding of your influence of climate and climate's influence on you and society. understands the essential principles of Earth's climate system, knows how to assess scientifically credible information about climate, communicates about climate and climate change in a meaningful way, and is able to make informed and responsible decisions with regard to actions that may affect climate. During the 20th century, Earth's globally averaged surface temperature rose by approximately 1.08°F (0.6°C). Additional warming of more than 0.25°F (0.14°C) has been measured since 2000. Though the total increase may seem small, it... More »

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Meteorology (Weather & Climate) Meteorology is the scientific study of the atmosphere and physical processes of interaction with the Earth's crust, oceans and outer space. Meteorological phenomena are observable weather events which are investigated by the science of meteorology. The chief parameters comprised by the science of meteorology are: temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, sunlight and the gradients and interactions of each variable, as well as their temporal variability. The majority of Earth's observed weather is located in the troposphere. Different spatial scales are studied to determine how systems on local, regional, and global levels impact meteorological phenomena. Meteorology, climatology, atmospheric physics and atmospheric chemistry are sub-disciplines of the atmospheric sciences. Meteorology and hydrology compose the interdisciplinary field of hydrometeorology. Interactions... More »

Climate (Weather & Climate) Climate is the typical pattern of conditions of the earth’s atmosphere over a given region, as defined by factors such as temperature, air pressure. humidity, precipitation, sunlight, cloudiness, and winds. The World Meteorological Organization defines climate as "the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time," where an appropriate period is typically at leastthirty years.Climate can be assessed at different, overlapping geographic regions. For example, Earth is thought to have a climate that is distinct from that of other planets, while different regions of Earth are also thought to have distinct climate types. Climate is often described as the "average" conditions; however, since daily and seasonal variability (including extremes) are critical determinants, using the term... More »

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Clouds (Weather & Climate) A cloud is a visible aggregate of minute water droplets or ice particles in the atmosphere above the Earth's surface. Clouds are classified according to their height above and appearance (texture) from the ground. Clouds form when air is cooled to its dewpoint—or the temperature at which, if the air is cooled, it reaches saturation with water. Air can reach saturation in a number of ways. The most common way is through lifting. As a bubble or parcel of air rises it moves into an area of lower pressure (pressure decreases with height). As this occurs the parcel expands. This requires energy, or work, which takes heat away from the parcel. So as air rises it cools. This is called an adiabatic process. The rate at which the parcel cools with increasing elevation is called the "lapse rate". The lapse rate of unsaturated air (air with relative humidity <100%)... More »