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Articles on Weather

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The polar vortex influences the jet stream, which can bring cold winter weather to the U.S. and Europe. AP Photo/Bill Sikes

What exactly is the polar vortex?

The media often call unusually cold, snowy storms a 'polar vortex.' The real polar vortex isn't coming down to visit the lower 48, but changes to the polar vortex can influence winter weather.
Permafrost is thawing across the Arctic, releasing microbes and organic materials that have been trapped in the frozen ground for thousands of years. NOAA via Wikimedia Commons

Thawing permafrost is full of ice-forming particles that could get into atmosphere

New research shows that permafrost contains huge amounts of particles that make it easier for cloud moisture to freeze. Thawing permafrost is releasing these ice-nucleating particles.
The jet stream can have a big impact on how long a plane ride will last. Aeroprints via Wikimedia Commons

Why does it take longer to fly from east to west on an airplane?

When planes fly from east to west, they are flying against a river of air called a jet stream. These air currents can make your flight longer or shorter, depending on which way you are going.
February 1969 afforded a spot of skiing for Nottingham residents. Photographer: Nottingham Post, courtesy: Nottingham Local Studies photographic collection

How British people weathered exceptionally cold winters

Food shortages, festivities and far-off fighting – Britain's coldest winters were among its most memorable.
Some places, like Nazaré Canyon in Portugal, produce freakishly huge waves. AP Photo/Armando Franca

What makes the world’s biggest surfable waves?

Some beaches in the world tend to consistently produce huge waves. Places like Nazaré Canyon in Portugal and Mavericks in California are famous for their waves because of the shape of the seafloor.
We’ve learned much more about the novel coronavirus over the last few months, including that most spreading events occur inddoors. (Shutterstock)

How to prevent COVID-19 ‘superspreader’ events indoors this winter

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, and the colder weather approaches, new mathematical models are needed to study changing social behaviours and indoor spaces.
When Hurricane Dorian, seen here from the International Space Station, stalled over the Bahamas in September 2019, its winds, rain and storm surge devastated the islands. NASA

What makes hurricanes stall, and why is that so hard to forecast?

Hurricane stalling has become common over the past half-century, and their average forward speed has also slowed.
A downpour or a drizzle: What causes the difference? David Pinzer Photography/Moment via Getty Images

Why does some rain fall harder than other rain?

Some rainstorms drench you in a second, while others drop rain in a nice peaceful drizzle. A meteorologist explains how rainstorms can be so different.

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