Capital Weather Gang: Education

Posted at 10:39 AM ET, 06/08/2012

Is that a tornado? Wall, scud, shelf and other scary looking clouds

During last Friday’s thunderstorm outbreak, a number of images were passed around as tornadoes that were clearly not tornadoes. Let’s examine a few of the most common scary looking clouds that sometimes are mistakenly called tornadoes.

By Ian Livingston  |  10:39 AM ET, 06/08/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Education, Latest, Thunderstorms, Recaps

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 05/11/2012

What are these faint dots in a sea of black?

Test your interactive quiz.

By Steve Tracton  |  10:00 AM ET, 05/11/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Astronomy, Space, Latest, Education

Posted at 03:08 PM ET, 05/08/2012

What’s this cloud formation?

We stumble across perplexing weather imagery all the time. How good of a weather detective are you? Welcome to the first in a series of occasional quizzes about mysterious sights in the sky. We’ll show you an image and then you tell us what you think it is.

By Steve Tracton  |  03:08 PM ET, 05/08/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Capital Weather Gang, Education, Latest

Posted at 11:42 AM ET, 03/28/2012

What is thunderstorm Convective Available Potential Energy, CAPE, and why care?

What in the world is CAPE? It’s a measure of potential thunderstorm energy that uses actual and calculated temperatures and humidity at all altitudes up to more than 40,000 feet. In other words, CAPE estimates the “fuel” available to accelerate air upward.

By Jack Williams  |  11:42 AM ET, 03/28/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, Education

Posted at 02:18 PM ET, 03/08/2012

Red sky in morning... (SUNRISE PHOTOS)

To explain and illustrate the weather setup for colorful sunrises, I analyzed past sunrise photos with their associated satellite images. I found a predictable and repeatable weather pattern that is responsible for creating vibrant color in the sky at sunrise.

By Kevin Ambrose  |  02:18 PM ET, 03/08/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Photography, Science, Education

Posted at 02:11 PM ET, 01/30/2012

Lego man launched into near space (VIDEO)

Using a weather balloon purchased online, two 17-year old Canadian students launched a lego man on a dramatic mission 80,000 feet into the stratosphere. By affixing multimedia recording equipment to the payload and a parachute linked to GPS so it could be recovered (it was), the resourceful teens captured spectacular imagery of the journey.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:11 PM ET, 01/30/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Science, Photography, Technology, Education

Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 09/13/2011

Play UK Met Office weather game and contribute to science of communicating uncertainty in forecasting

The United Kingdom (UK) Met Office has launched an online weather game to assess the most effective and useful presentations to communicate information to the public on the inevitable uncertainties in weather predictions. Players of the game will help a fictitious ice cream man, Brad, run his business – and maximize his profit - by deciding where and when to sell his ice cream treats. These decisions will depend on players’ interpretation of weather forecasts with varying levels of uncertainty (confidence) expressed in differing frameworks using probabilities.

By Steve Tracton  |  06:00 PM ET, 09/13/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Education, Tracton, Latest

Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 06/02/2011

Fireflies flashing earlier as climate warms. Are we amidst a ‘renaissance of lightning bugs’?

Summer heat and humidity aren’t the only things to have arrived early in the D.C. area this year. Early last week, Capital Weather Gang commenters reported their first firefly spottings of the season. A warming climate has fireflies along with many other insects appearing earlier in the year than they used to. Recent trends also suggest a ‘renaissance’ of fireflies might be underway, with fireflies increasing not long after scientists feared they might be disappearing.

By Ann Posegate  |  11:45 AM ET, 06/02/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Climate Change, Environment, Education, Local Climate, Nature, Posegate, Wx and the City, Latest

Posted at 11:20 AM ET, 05/17/2011

Rare, complex flow pattern behind weird weather

Unless you’ve been trapped in the depths of a DC Metro underground station by inoperative escalators and elevators, you know the several contiguous days last week of positively delightful spring weather has been replaced over the weekend by less than totally pleasant conditions expected most of this week. In his post last week Jason asked “what’s the cause of this lovely stretch of San Diego-like weather in Washington, D.C.?” He answered “we can thank an atmospheric pattern known as an omega block”. The question now is what’s the cause of the prolonged stretch of less than perfect (icky, lousy, unsettled, crappy, etc.) conditions this week? Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is the same: an omega block. How can that be?

By Steve Tracton  |  11:20 AM ET, 05/17/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Tracton, Latest, Education, Science

Posted at 11:34 AM ET, 05/11/2011

Our big beautiful block

What’s the cause of this lovely stretch of San Diego-like weather in Washington, D.C.? We can thank a atmospheric pattern known as an omega block. In this regime, a big fat area of tranquil high pressure - currently influencing much of the East - sits between two areas of stormy low pressure. The resulting signature of such a feature on the weather map resembles the Greek letter omega, hence the name.

By Jason Samenow  |  11:34 AM ET, 05/11/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, U.S. Weather, Education, Science

Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 12/07/2010

Stink bug weather & tips for keeping them out

The Washington area had a terrible bout of stink bug weather this past November. One might even say we had at least one episode of severe stink bug weather. Discussed are ways to combat the stink bug.

By Kevin Ambrose  |  10:30 AM ET, 12/07/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Education, Education, Education

Posted at 10:20 AM ET, 11/09/2010

The mystery of the von Karman vortex street

Crop circles? Mini-hurricanes? Spaceships? What the heck are those things pictured to the right? What we're looking at here is a classic example of a von Karman vortex street. Other than being really cool to look at, these phenomena are just another reminder of just how weird our atmosphere can be.

By Brian Jackson  |  10:20 AM ET, 11/09/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Education, Education, Education

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 09/16/2010

The six great early American climate myths

Recently, in the Six Great Early American Climate Myths, Part I, I discussed three of the climate myths that the late David Ludlum, founder and long-time director/editor of Weatherwise magazine, summarized as "American Climythology." Ludlum, one of America's foremost weather historians, died in 1997. Following is a discussion of the other three myths...

By Don Lipman  |  12:00 PM ET, 09/16/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Education, Education

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 09/08/2010

The six great early American climate myths

hen Richard Mather, grandfather of Cotton Mather, the fiery New England preacher, arrived in Plymouth Bay Colony in a hurricane in August 1635 he, as well as fellow passengers aboard the James were certainly surprised at the way Mother Nature welcomed them. Not that a hurricane was so unusual, because they had vaguely heard of them. They just didn't realize hurricanes could travel so far north. But the real shocker would be the overall severity of the New England weather that awaited them, especially during the era now known as the "Little Ice Age," roughly 1450-1850.

By Don Lipman  |  11:00 AM ET, 09/08/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Education, Education

Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 08/17/2010

Weather and war throughout history

Few need to be reminded, especially those in the military, how important the weather factor is during combat operations. Foul weather, of course, has hindered, delayed, and prevented some battles and surprisingly, even enabled others.

By Don Lipman  |  11:30 AM ET, 08/17/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Education, Education

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 06/18/2010

Can the wind make Strasburg's fastball faster?

Stephen Strasburg's first pitch as a Washington National? A 97 mph fastball. The fastest pitch of his June 8 Nationals debut? 101 mph. Just how good was Strasburg? He had a franchise-record 14 strikeouts in his first major league start, and his change-up was faster than some pitchers' fastballs. Is there anything that can slow down a Strasburg pitch? A strong gust of wind could. But it could also speed it up. How does the wind's effect on pitchers -- and on batters and fielders -- compare to that of temperature, pressure and other weather factors? Let's take a look...

By Dan Stillman  |  11:00 AM ET, 06/18/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Education, Education

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 04/20/2010

Weather sayings: Do they have any value?

In earlier times, before weather satellites, radar, and even the U.S. Weather Bureau (founded around 1870), farmers, sailors, etc. needed an easy way of associating the precursors of weather changes with the actual weather that followed.

By Don Lipman  |  11:00 AM ET, 04/20/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Education, Education

Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 09/15/2009

An Inch of Rain - What Does it Mean?

A rain gauge. Image courtesy NASA. Although the definition of "an inch of rain" sounds simple enough--rainfall totaling one inch in some sort of measuring cup--what an inch of rain really stands for is sometimes not always clear. When I ask people if they think an inch of rain is...

By Don Lipman  |  10:30 AM ET, 09/15/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Education, Education, Education

Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 03/09/2009

Dueling Springs: Meteorological vs. Astronomical

Wx and the City * Slowly Cooling: Our Full Forecast | Later: The Moon & Hurricanes * A classic spring sunrise. By Capital Weather Gang photographer Kevin Ambrose. Similar to last March, this March has quickly transitioned from winter to spring-like conditions. Quite a few changes have taken place over...

By Ann Posegate  |  10:45 AM ET, 03/09/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Education, Education, Education

Posted at 06:30 PM ET, 08/28/2008

Cool Tools for 'Canes

By Ann Posegate "How strong is a hurricane? Just listen." Besides reconnaissance flights and ocean buoys, there may be potential to measure the strength of hurricanes by listening to their sound deep under the ocean surface. Leave it to MIT to develop underwater microphones (hydrophones) that make it "possible to...

By Jason Samenow  |  06:30 PM ET, 08/28/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Education, Education

Posted at 07:00 PM ET, 02/25/2008

Bucket O' Bookmarks: Site for Kids, Teachers

Image from The Weather Channel The latest (January) issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society has a pointer to a new Weather Channel web site for kids. The WeatherED section contains a weather encyclopedia grouped into topics such as Hurricanes and Tropical Systems, Heat Waves, and Winter Storms....

By Steve Scolnik  |  07:00 PM ET, 02/25/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Education, Education

Posted at 11:30 PM ET, 02/20/2008

If the Missile Misses

A satellite's journey through the atmosphere From the Pacific Ocean, a Navy ship is expected as early as tonight or tomorrow to shoot down, or at least attempt to do so, an out-of-control U.S. spy satellite that is falling toward Earth. Government officials say the satellite, primarily due to its...

By Dan Stillman  |  11:30 PM ET, 02/20/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Education, Education, Education

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 02/14/2008

Local Lecture: Meet a Met

Following last month's presentation by Paul Kocin, former Weather Channel winter expert, the local chapter of the American Meteorological Society is hosting another operational forecaster for its February meeting next week. Ken Reeves, expert senior meteorologist and director of forecasting operations at AccuWeather, Inc., will be speaking on the subject,...

By Steve Scolnik  |  05:00 AM ET, 02/14/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Education

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 01/26/2008

Free/Low-Cost Classes

Skywarn; climate course; astronomy for non-scientists If you're interested in learning something about meteorology and also performing a public service, the National Weather Service (NWS) has several Skywarn classes scheduled in the metro region. Skywarn is a program through which trained members of the public can become spotters for weather...

By Steve Scolnik  |  11:00 AM ET, 01/26/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Education