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38
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
29
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
24
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
24
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
580 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
2answers
274 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
621 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
518 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
343 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
448 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
6k 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
263 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
276 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
1answer
195 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
1k 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
49 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
296 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
126 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
168 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
108 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
148 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
73 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
629 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
660 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
100 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
120 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
3answers
6k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
557 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
53 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
83 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
796 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
102 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
250 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
55 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
1k 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
2answers
240 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
158 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
126 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
0answers
49 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
88 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
0answers
207 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
347 views

Does an object's movement affect the likelihood of being struck by lightning?

Does the state of whether an object if moving or stationary affect the likelihood of it being struck by lightning? I suppose some things that could be considered would be: Whether the movement ...
1
vote
4answers
375 views

'A' butterfly effect

If a butterfly did not flap its wings some time ago, but instead decided to slide for that millisecond, can this cause a tornado on the other side of the earth if we just wait long enough? Does this ...
1
vote
1answer
661 views

What's the altitude of the flat base of Cumulus clouds?

Is there a formula that describes the altitude of clouds with respect to the local temperature? I think of the flat bases of Cumulus clouds. Thanks...
1
vote
2answers
142 views

Does “sea level temperature” exist?

When reporting barometric pressure, weather stations normalize the result to sea level using a well-known formula (approximately, add 1 inch to the measured pressure for every 1000 feet above sea ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

Where can I find open-source weather forecast software? [closed]

Are there any software packages/frameworks for running weather forecast numeric models on a single PC? I've found at least two instances, but I'm interested to know whether there are more and where I ...
1
vote
3answers
4k views

How air humidity affects dry process of a washing?

I've noticed that during wet weather my washing does not want to dry. Is it because of lower temperature, or because of air humidity?
1
vote
1answer
276 views

How can I estimate relative humidity ($e/e_s$) from temperature and dewpoint?

Background my goal is to estimate vapor pressure deficit ($vpd$) from Relative Humidity ($rh = \frac{e}{e_s}$): $$vpd = \frac{100 - \frac{e}{e_s}}{100} e_s$$ (from Hartmann "Global Physical ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

How size of objects lifted by the wind depends on the speed of the wind?

What are the sizes of the objects that could be picked up and flown by tornados, depending on the tornado's speed? To put it another way, assuming turbulent flow and object density much higher than ...