Archive "Weather" (Page 3)

Your great-great-great-grandparents’ cold world

Regardless of what our industrial society is doing to Earth's climate, nature can produce surprises of its own accord. Sketchy observations and recent inferences show that, from about 1550 to 1850, a good part of the planet was as much as 1.0°C/1.8°F cooler than today. That may not sound like much, but it was enough […]

Announcer Noelle Middleton and meteorologistT H Clifton collaborated on an early BBC weathercast in 1954.

What’s weather anyway?

Sunlight peering through overcast skies. A burst of rain. Lightning that splits the heavens in two. A great gust of wind. They're all ingredients that make up weather. Yet while the existence of weather maybe a constant, the weather itself is constantly changing. The same is true of our ideas about weather. People have always […]

Life in the Ice Age

It wasn't exactly a bowl of cherries for the protohumans who endured the last Ice Age. When Neanderthals ranged through Europe, present-day France and Germany were barren tundra and most of the British Isles and Scandinavia were under a sheet of ice more than 1.6km/1 mile thick. Similarly, massive ice sheets ranged as far south […]

Weather vs climate

Science-fiction master Robert Heinlein once pointed out, “Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get'That, in a nutshell, is the difference between the two. Weather refers to the day-to-day vagaries of the atmosphere, the conditions that change from hour to hour and from day to day. Climate deals with the average of weather […]


Extreme weather

So far in our survey we've encountered nothing more unpleasant than a severe soaking, but what about when things turn really nasty? Step this way for all kinds of severe weather, starting with storms, cyclones and their even more extreme cousins the hurricanes and typhoons. Cyclones It you watch much news on the TV, you […]

The most varied weather

We may have identified the places with the highest and lowest temperatures, and the strongest winds. But where in the world sees the most variety in its weather forecasts? Finding the biggest combination of weather extremes is tricky, but there is no doubt that the bigger your country, the more weather it can have. Smaller […]

The least gripping weather

Most big news stories about the weather are to do with extremes. Snow falling metres deep, hailstones the size of footballs, winds faster than jet planes: these are the stuff of weather legend. But spare a thought for one record that is too rarely explored. What about the record for crushingly dull weather? Spare a […]


The weather machine

Despite this reassuringly stable structure, the atmosphere is the most restless component of the Earth. Continents creep apart at a few centimetres a year, ocean currents are measured in kilometres an hour – but the fastest wind ever measured, on 12 April 1934 on Mount Washington in New Hampshire, US, was 372kph. But although there […]

Farming Calendar in India

South Asia: Living with Extreme Weather

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In May 1996, a fierce tornado tore through northern Bangladesh, leaving more than 700 people dead and 30,000 injured. Winds reached speeds of 125 mph. Within 30 minutes, nearly 80 villages had been destroyed. In the town of Rampur, Reazuddin Ahmed and his family sought shelter behind a concrete wall. All the […]

Seasons: Northern Hemisphere

Seasons and Weather

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE The smell of thousands of decaying corpses hung in the air in what was once the thriving seaport of Galveston, Texas. The day before, winds estimated at 130 miles per hour roared through the city. A storm surge of seawater more than 15 feet high pushed a wall of debris across the […]


In the last few chapters, we've looked at the Earth's crust—its mineral composition, its lithospheric plates, and the landforms created by volcanic and tectonic activity. Now let's examine the shallow surface layer in which life exists. We'll look first at how rocks are softened and how they break up. Later, we'll see how the resulting rock materials move downhill under the […]

Typhoons Chaba and Aere

Tropical and Equatorial Weather Systems

So far, we have discussed weather systems of the midlatitudes and poleward. Weather systems of the tropical and equatorial zones show some basic differences from those of the midlatitudes. Upper-air winds are often weak, so air-mass movement is slow and gradual. Air masses are warm and moist, and different air masses tend to have similar characteristics, so fronts are not as clearly defined. Without the […]



THROUGHOUT HISTORY, humankind has always been in awe of the weather. Ancient civilizations considered it to be the work of the gods. Even as recently as the 1700s, it was thought that weather occurred in only one place and simply stayed put. Benjamin Franklin was one of the first who published his speculations that this was untrue when he learned that […]

severe weather

severe weather

IN THE UNITED STATES, severe weather is defined as a tornado, winds greater than 58 mi per hour (93 km per hour) or hail greater than .75 in (1.9 cm) in diameter. Other countries sometimes include heavy precipitation or a large amount of lightning in their definitions of severe weather. Severe weather is usually considered to come from thunderstorms but other storms, […]