Portal:Weather
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Portal:Weather

The weather portal

Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degree to which it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. On Earth, most weather phenomena occur in the lowest level of the planet's atmosphere, the troposphere, just below the stratosphere. Weather refers to day-to-day temperature and precipitation activity, whereas climate is the term for the averaging of atmospheric conditions over longer periods of time. When used without qualification, "weather" is generally understood to mean the weather of Earth.

Weather is driven by air pressure, temperature, and moisture differences between one place and another. These differences can occur due to the Sun's angle at any particular spot, which varies with latitude. The strong temperature contrast between polar and tropical air gives rise to the largest scale atmospheric circulations: the Hadley cell, the Ferrel cell, the polar cell, and the jet stream. Weather systems in the middle latitudes, such as extratropical cyclones, are caused by instabilities of the jet streamflow. Because Earth's axis is tilted relative to its orbital plane (called the ecliptic), sunlight is incident at different angles at different times of the year. On Earth's surface, temperatures usually range ±40 °C (-40 °F to 100 °F) annually. Over thousands of years, changes in Earth's orbit can affect the amount and distribution of solar energy received by Earth, thus influencing long-term climate and global climate change.

Surface temperature differences in turn cause pressure differences. Higher altitudes are cooler than lower altitudes, as most atmospheric heating is due to contact with the Earth's surface while radiative losses to space are mostly constant. Weather forecasting is the application of science and technology to predict the state of the atmosphere for a future time and a given location. Earth's weather system is a chaotic system; as a result, small changes to one part of the system can grow to have large effects on the system as a whole. Human attempts to control the weather have occurred throughout history, and there is evidence that human activities such as agriculture and industry have modified weather patterns.

Studying how the weather works on other planets has been helpful in understanding how weather works on Earth. A famous landmark in the Solar System, Jupiter's Great Red Spot, is an anticyclonic storm known to have existed for at least 300 years. However, the weather is not limited to planetary bodies. A star's corona is constantly being lost to space, creating what is essentially a very thin atmosphere throughout the Solar System. The movement of mass ejected from the Sun is known as the solar wind. (Full article...)

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Snow events are a rarity in the U.S. state of Florida, as freezing temperatures in the state are generally caused by the cold and dry winds of anticyclones. Most of the state is in a rare portion of the continental United States which receives a mean maximum monthly snowfall amount of zero, the only other such areas being southern Texas and California. However, snow does occur, especially in the northern interior sections of the state, sometimes more than once in a season. Areas near Jacksonville have seen several inches of snow on occasion, and snow flurries have been reported as far south as Homestead. Generally, for snow to occur, the polar jet stream must move southward through Texas and into the Gulf of Mexico, with a stalled cold front across the southern portion of the state curving northeastward to combine freezing air into the frontal clouds.

Snowfall events by month in Florida

Recently selected articles: Great Lakes Storm, Extratropical cyclone, More...

Did you know...

...that a hurricane force wind warning is issued by the United States National Weather Service for storms that are not tropical cyclones but are expected to produce hurricane-force winds (65 knots (75 mph; 120 km/h) or higher)?

...that the Automated Tropical Cyclone Forecasting System is a software package for tropical cyclone forecasting developed in 1988 that is still used today by meteorologists in various branches of the US Government?

...that a cryoseism is a sudden ground or glacier movement that can occur due to water freezing or ice cracking after drastic temperature changes?

...that BUFR is a binary data format standardized by the World Meteorological Organization for storing observation data from weather stations and weather satellites?

...that the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center issues weather forecasts for conditions that can cause avalanches in the mountains of western Washington and northwestern Oregon?

...that a wind chill warning is issued by the National Weather Service when a combination of wind and cold temperatures is expected to cause life-threatening conditions for anyone caught outside?

Recent and ongoing weather

This week in weather history...

November 23

1992: Typhoon Gay made landfall on the island of Guam. Due to the storm's strong winds and relative lack of rain, salt water that sprayed across the island caused extensive damage to vegetation.

November 24

1969: Hurricane Martha made landfall in the Veraguas Province of Panama, making it the only known tropical cyclone to directly hit the country.

November 25

1950: The Great Appalachian Storm of 1950 brought up to 57 inches (145 cm) of snow to areas in and near the Appalachian Mountains.

November 26

1997: Cyclone Osea reached peak intensity while passing through French Polynesia, destroying most buildings and infrastructure on Maupiti.

November 27

2014: A major hailstorm caused severe damage and injured 39 people in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

November 28

1939: A smog event struck St. Louis, Missouri. The smog was so thick that cars needed headlights to drive during mid-day.

November 29

1992: A series of unusually powerful storms produced flash flooding, large hailstones, and two strong tornadoes in southeastern Queensland, Australia.

Selected biography

Edward Norton Lorenz (May 23, 1917 - April 16, 2008) was an American mathematician and meteorologist who established the theoretical basis of weather and climate predictability, as well as the basis for computer-aided atmospheric physics and meteorology. He is best known as the founder of modern chaos theory, a branch of mathematics focusing on the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions.

His discovery of deterministic chaos "profoundly influenced a wide range of basic sciences and brought about one of the most dramatic changes in mankind's view of nature since Sir Isaac Newton," according to the committee that awarded him the 1991 Kyoto Prize for basic sciences in the field of earth and planetary sciences. (Full article...)

Previously selected biographies: Vilhelm Friman Koren Bjerknes; Anders Celsius, More...

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Wikiprojects

WikiProject Meteorology is a collaborative effort by dozens of Wikipedians to improve the quality of meteorology- and weather-related articles. If you would like to help, visit the project talk page, and see what needs doing.

WikiProject Severe weather is a similar project specific to articles about severe weather. Their talk page is located here.

WikiProject Tropical cyclones is a daughter project of WikiProject meteorology. The dozens of semi-active members and several full-time members focus on improving Wikipdia's coverage of tropical cyclones.

WikiProject Non-tropical storms is a collaborative project to improve articles related to winter storms, wind storms, and extratropical weather.

Wikipedia is a fully collaborative effort by volunteers. So if you see something you think you can improve, be bold and get to editing! We appreciate any help you can provide!

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