May 18th, 2014
Highlights of a four month-long Winter on Georgian Bay, captured by way of cheap hardware and some clever software that tried to ensure that the time-lapse images were taken in similar lighting conditions:
Pleasingly, it turned out to be a particularly turbulent winter, so the lake got to freeze and partially thaw quite a few times.
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March 30th, 2014
Dallas Storm Timelapse:
(For a view from above of a similar phenomenon, see this NASA Earth Observatory feature on images of lightning storms taken from the ISS. Only still images, but impressively big ones.)
[Via The Awl]
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February 13th, 2014
More weather, this time a collection of Stormscapes:
At several points during that video I was fully expecting the clouds to part as a Spielbergesque spaceship descended.
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February 13th, 2014
Michael Shainblum's image of the Burj Khalifa being struck by lightning doesn't deserve to be embedded here in scaled-down form: follow that link and see it properly. It's worth it.
(I do hope there was a mad scientist at the top of the tower, cackling maniacally as he tried to tap the power of the lightning storm to breathe life into his creation. Seems like such a waste of a good lightning bolt, otherwise…)
[Via Bad Astronomy]
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May 4th, 2013
It looks as if when NASA's New Horizons probe arrives at Pluto in 2015 it's going to find weather that is both relatively simple and yet quite difficult to predict:
To establish context: Pluto, like Earth and Titan, has a nitrogen-rich atmosphere. It's a very thin atmosphere, its pressure measured in microbars. Earth's atmospheric pressure is, of course, about one bar. Titan's is 1.6 bars. Mars' is a hundred times more tenuous, less than 10 millibars. Pluto's is about a hundred times more tenuous again, less than 100 microbars. Which is really thin; but it's way thicker than the essentially airless exospheres at Mercury and the Moon. Pluto has plenty enough atmosphere for the world to have wind and weather and clouds, just like Venus and Earth and Mars and Titan.
Nitrogen in Pluto's air is in equilibrium with nitrogen frost or ice on the ground. Broadly speaking, when Pluto warms up, ice sublimates to gas, and the atmospheric pressure goes up. When Pluto cools, you get frost and a lower atmospheric pressure. Changing seasons remove ice from the summer pole, and may re-deposit it at the winter pole.
Emily Lakdawalla's post goes into much more detail about why it's so hard to predict what New Horizons will find, even taking into account what we know from probes to destinations elsewhere in the solar system. Which, as she notes, is exactly why it's necessary to send a spaceship out to Pluto – to tell us which theories are right and which are wrong (and in turn to fuel a couple of decades-worth of scientific papers figuring out whether the theories that gave the right answers did so for the right reasons.)
In the meantime, New Horizons will be heading on out to the Kuiper Belt, which promises to be interesting in an entirely different way.
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February 11th, 2013
From Joe Moran: Welsh words for rain. Something of an epic, including…
bwrw – to rain
glawio – raining
dafnu – spotting
brasfrwrw – big spaced drops
sgrympian – short sharp shower
Mae hi'n brwr hen wragedd a ffyn – It's raining old women and sticks
January 8th, 2013
Australia is experiencing such a heatwave that meteorologists are having to come up with new colours for their weather maps:
SYDNEY – Extreme heat in Australia forced the government's weather bureau to upgrade its temperature scale, with new colours on the climate map to reflect new highs forecast next week.
Central Australia was shown with a purple area on the latest Bureau of Meteorology forecast map issued for next Monday, a new colour code suggesting temperatures will soar above 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit).
The bureau's head of climate monitoring and prediction David Jones said the new scale, which also features a pink code for temperatures from 52 to 54 degrees, reflected the potential for old heat records to be smashed.
(Meanwhile in the UK, the Met Office is most likely devising symbols to represent how deep the flooding gets, in the event that your local river decides to burst through your flood defences and saunter up to – and under – your front door. With bonus points if they can design a symbol that simultaneously indicates both how deep the flooding is and how many years in a row flooding has affected that particular town or village.)
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October 31st, 2012
Hurricane Sandy: After Landfall.
I found #48 particularly striking – surreal, even.
[Via The Browser]
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July 7th, 2012
Not one, not two, but three striking images:
[Lightning Storm Formation video via Bad Astronomy]
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