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39
votes
6answers
8k views

Without seeing the lightning, can you tell how far away it struck by how the thunder sounds?

Is there any way to tell how far away a lightning strike is by how its thunder sounds? I thought one way might be by using the fact that higher frequencies travel faster than lower frequencies. Would ...
31
votes
2answers
4k views

Why is the sun brighter in Australia compared to parts of Asia?

Background: I've lived in Philippines for several years, and visited other parts of Asia occasionally (Singapore, Indonesia, Hongkong). I just moved to Western Australia a few months ago and I ...
27
votes
5answers
4k views

Have we figured out how to analyze turbulent fluids?

I was surprised to read that we don't know how to analyze turbulent fluids. On page 3-9 of The Feynman Lectures on Physics (Volume One), Feynman writes: Finally, there is a physical problem that ...
26
votes
2answers
1k views

Why doesn't Earth's atmosphere form bands due to different rotational speeds?

If the Earth's atmosphere is rotating at the same speed as Earth, then the atmosphere must be rotating much faster at the equator than at the poles. If you spin a ball covered in oil, it will form ...
21
votes
4answers
691 views

Why is lightning more rare during snow storms than rain storms?

Lightning and thunder during a snow storm is uncommon. As far as I know, more uncommon than during a typical rain storm. Why is this? I speculate it might be one, or both, of the following two ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

Can rain evaporate?

Are there any atmospheric condition under which a visible raindrop can fail to hit the ground by evaporating first? I imagine this would require a large vertical temperature difference, and possibly ...
14
votes
3answers
697 views

How to calculate the upper limit on the number of days weather can be forecast reliably?

To put it bluntly, weather is described by the Navier-Stokes equation, which in turn exhibits turbulence, so eventually predictions will become unreliable. I am interested in a derivation of the ...
14
votes
2answers
348 views

Why do clouds form in lumps?

What forces drive the water vapor to form the shapes every child draws? Why isn't water vapor forming an uniform mist layer consistently (which it some times does)? I have two general ideas how this ...
11
votes
2answers
582 views

Would fog impair echolocation abilities?

I was driving down a major highway today and the fog was thick enough I could barely see 40 ft in front of me. I then wondered if I had had some other form of perception could I have perceived my ...
10
votes
2answers
352 views

Is this a weather phenomenon or an instrumental artifact?

The radar image of the midwest provided by Weatherunderground at 10:30 PM Central time, May 8 2011 has odd patterns. Are these patterns real? Perhaps caused by large scale convection over cities? Or ...
9
votes
2answers
770 views

Why do clouds fly? [duplicate]

I know it's probably the most stupid question there is, but why do they fly are the clouds lighter than air? What's keeping those tiny ice structures floating miles about the ground? I've been looking ...
7
votes
5answers
10k views

How can I prevent being zapped by static electricity every time I touch a doorknob or handle in the office?

I don't know what it is about this office, but it seems everything I touch (doorknob, bathroom faucet, edge of kitchen sink in the break room), I get zapped by static electricity. It's getting old. ...
7
votes
1answer
114 views

How strong must a tornado be to pick up a shark?

Yes, you know where this is going. There is a good article on this topic by National Geographic: 'Sharknado' Got One Thing Right: Aquatic Animals Sometimes Do Fall From the Sky One of the first ...
7
votes
1answer
215 views

Is long-term weather forecast impossible in principle?

This question can be asked about any chaotic dynamical system, but hydrodynamics of the atmosphere makes it more concrete. Arnold describes his 1966 result as follows: I have calculated the ...
7
votes
1answer
314 views

Atmospheric Circulation

What is the simplest simulatable model giving our rotating earth its 3 circulation cells (Hadley, Ferrel, Polar)? The model should also show 1 circulation cell if the earth's rotation were stopped (or ...
6
votes
1answer
320 views

How to derive a physical model of temperature above the earth surface?

At a point on the surface of the Earth, if I go straight "up" a distance $z$ (radially outward from the Earth), I'd observe a temperature profile $T(z)$. The conventional wisdom from the meteorology ...
5
votes
3answers
14k views

Does humidity make winter air feel colder?

I sometimes hear stories where people compare their feelings in winter in different places in the world. It goes like in city X the temperature was the same as in city Y, but the humidity made me ...
5
votes
1answer
292 views

How can I estimate confidence intervals around the forecasted temperatures for future days?

Weather.com will happily give me temperature predictions for the next ten days, but no indication of how reliable those predictions are. So if I want to plan something for a week from today, or four ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

How do AM radio signals change with time of day?

I know that AM radio station signals fluctuate in quality with time of day because of changes in the ionosphere. How do these changes trend with time of day?
5
votes
1answer
50 views

How does atmospheric seeing evolve over time?

I am writing an automated target selection application in which the seeing at the time of observation is an important factor: some fields are important to observe under good seeing, others, less so. ...
5
votes
1answer
314 views

Why is UV index so high when storms are announced?

Everytime I check the weather news and storms are announced, the UV index is very often (if not always) "very high" or "extreme", why is that?
5
votes
3answers
324 views

Why do tropical cyclones not tear themselves apart?

A tropical cyclone is the generic term for a hurricane, typhoon, or tropical storm. Tropical cyclones derive their energy from evaporation of water at the ocean surface which ultimately recondenses ...
5
votes
1answer
259 views

How long did the first rainshowers on Earth last?

When I was a child, I read many times over with fascination about the formation of the Earth in a large illustrated encyclopedia of sorts for adults (one of at least two volumes, though I will ...
4
votes
2answers
161 views

Can a Storm make the day longer/shorter?

I've read that changes in jet streams can affect the speed that the Earth rotates on its axis, thus making the day longer or shorter?
4
votes
2answers
155 views

The visibility of air

For pilots of gliders or sailplanes, the 'thermal' is the most important phenomena of the air. A thermal is classically described as an upward flow of air caused by ground level heating of air that ...
4
votes
1answer
128 views

How much atmospheric pressure (CO2) is required to carry iron oxide dust in the wind?

It is common knowledge that there are dust devils and dust storms on Mars. But can we demonstrate that the atmospheric pressure on Mars, which is 0.6% of the pressure we experience on Earth, provides ...
4
votes
1answer
731 views

Wind Turbine Impact

OK, I'm not sure this is not a silly question, but here goes. I've often wondered what the impact is of wind turbines on the weather. My question is, since wind turbines transform wind energy into ...
4
votes
2answers
782 views

What's the reason for the seasons?

In the diagram, it shows that the fundamental reason for different seasons is when the northern hemisphere is titled towards the sun there's summer in northern hemisphere and winter in southern ...
4
votes
2answers
118 views

How does the correlation length of weather emerge?

The question is pretty simple: If I know the weather where I stand, I can estimate the weather 5 meters or 1 km away away pretty well, but I'll have a hard time guessing what the weather is, say, 50 ...
4
votes
2answers
169 views

Lumped circuit model of Earth and Sun as a thermal system

I want to design a thermal model of the Sun heating up the Earth. The circuit below is my own design (I don't know if there is a better way to model it. If there is, please tell me.). I want to ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is the rainy season in the winter for some (mediterranean?) climates and in the summer for other (tropical?) climates?

Generally speaking, the rainy season is in the summer in tropical climates, and in the winter in mediterranean climates. (I admit that is a gross oversimplification) What is the cause for this ...
3
votes
2answers
59 views

Determining cloud cover from observer to near the horizon

Does there exist a Clear Sky Chart with the following enhancements?: 1 - Actual Cloud Cover (Offered Visually and not just Colors with a Legend, Over Time/Past & Predictive) 2 - Simulate/Predict ...
3
votes
1answer
158 views

Why formation of rain is adiabatic?

I recently went through the wikipedia page for Rain. It said that There are four main mechanisms for cooling the air to its dew point: adiabatic cooling, conductive cooling,.... It proceeds as ...
3
votes
1answer
853 views

Altering Venus rotational speed to match Earth's via weather manipulation

Venus rotates approximately 6.5 km an hour Earth rotates approximately 1650 km/h how fast could we speed up Venus's rotation via only weather manipulation ( maybe a giant fractal lens between Venus ...
3
votes
1answer
121 views

How does irradiance behave over time?

I am trying to clarify data on weather from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI); I have incorporated the Solar Position Algorithm (SPA), such that I can calculate sunset and sunrise ...
3
votes
1answer
254 views

Physicality of claims regarding AC ice energy storage units

Many of us may remember the problems from thermodynamics where we had to determine if a pretend air conditioning unit supplier's claims violated the 2nd law. I want to pose a similar question ...
3
votes
1answer
112 views

Mechanism for visible light frequency mixing in storm clouds

So I know that when red and blue light (or the frequencies/wavelengths we percieve as such) hit our eyes with the correct proportions, our eyes and brains interpret that as the color purple. In ...
3
votes
0answers
37 views

Lightning sprites

Lightning usually occurs due to an electrostatic discharge between an electrically-charged cloud and the Earth's surface, or between clouds. There are also sprites, electrical discharges that occur ...
2
votes
1answer
172 views

How much heating Earth inner core provide to the surface?

Compare to the energy that the Earth surface receives from the sun, how much power comes from the inner melted core ? How important is this contribution to the surface temperature ?
2
votes
1answer
2k views

How relative humidity and temperature affect rainfalls

The question is simple as stated in the title. How relative humidity and temperature affect rainfalls? I can't find a satisfatory answer in the web. Who can help me to understand me this relation?
2
votes
1answer
155 views

Why Do Clouds Precipitate Rather than Fall From the Sky?

After spending some time watching clouds, it occurred to me how interesting it is that clouds have more structure than just being homogenous, really humid layers in the sky. I see that a similar ...
2
votes
2answers
515 views

Fork and Sheet Lightning

I've noticed that during British lightning storms, I have only ever seen sheet lightning However, on holiday in other countries, I frequently see Forked Lightning Q) Is this just caused by ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

Is weather cyclic?

I'm a sports amateur, and enjoy playing in Ultimate Frisbee leagues in my hometown. In the last years, I've observed some "weird" weather behavior, and wondered if it was some sort of coincidence, or ...
2
votes
1answer
214 views

Underlying physical basis of an exponential distribution

My data set of upper atmospheric cloud occurrences $N$ versus their thickness (or optical brightness, say $B$) show an exponential variation over more than two orders of magnitude - that is $N$ varies ...
2
votes
2answers
135 views

What is the relation of the release time of fossil fuel emissions to climate change? [closed]

This question presupposes that The amount of fossil fuels on earth is limited Mankind will burn all of its fossil fuels eventually Based on these presuppositions, the total amount of CO2 released ...
2
votes
1answer
47 views

Tornado Vortex Low-pressure Force

If a tornado forms not contacting the ground and then moves over a large flat roof and contacts that surface, producing low pressure above that surface and having normal, higher atmospheric pressure ...
2
votes
0answers
32 views

What physical processes govern the formation and shape of clouds?

There are many kinds of cloud shapes that appear in the sky. In fact, it's not unusual to see several different kinds of clouds in the same sky. What kind of physics equations and processes govern ...
2
votes
1answer
78 views

What does “downshear” mean?

I occasionally read descriptions such as "downshear of the vortex" in meteorological publications. What does this mean?
2
votes
0answers
170 views

What causes charge buildup in a cloud before a lightning storm?

I am curious what causes the charge build up in a cloud before lightning occurs. I have seen in a few places such as this, that the process is not fully understood. Is this some form of static ...
2
votes
0answers
329 views

How far we can see in the thickest possible fog?

There is quite foggy day today here, I cannot see end of the street. This made me think about how much worse can it be. So here is my question: how thick a fog can be? What's the smallest visibility ...