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Cold-Front-Weather If you’re wondering what cold front weather is like, you must first understand is the definition of a front. Put simply, fronts are the boundaries between air masses that have different temperatures. When warm air moves toward cold air, it’s called a warm front. Likewise, when cold air moves toward warm air, it’s called a cold weather front. If you’re using the best weather app and you see that cold front weather is headed your way, here’s what to expect.  Cold fronts Bring Stormy Weather in the Summer Cold air masses move quickly and wedge beneath less dense masses of warm air. This causes cold fronts to become sloped, which makes the warm air mass rise very quickly and be replaced by cool air. This results in turbulence and can often lead to short-lived, but violent, stormy conditions in the summer. In the winter, a cold front can pass through often with little or no precipitation at all.  Cold fronts Form Certain Clouds Cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds are associated with cold front weather. These clouds produce thunderstorms and, if enough moisture is present, heavy precipitation or hailstones. Under the right conditions, cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds can become destructive tornadoes.  After the Cold Front Has Passed Once the brief but heavy cold front weather passes, the air left behind is much cooler. In fact, a temperature change of up to 50 degrees can be caused by a cold front. The effects of a cold weather front can last for a few hours or up to a few days. Now that you know what cold front weather is, you have a better idea of what to expect when cold fronts are headed your way. For a simple, beautiful way to keep tabs on the weather, download the best weather app from WeatherCaster today.
Unusual-Weather Tornadoes, blizzards and hurricanes are extreme, but they are not all that unusual. Weather changes that you might not ever see in your lifetime are the only types good enough to make it on the list of the top five most unusual weather phenomena found on planet Earth. If you happen to run into any of these weird weather patterns, be sure to use the best weather app from WeatherCaster to take a picture you can share with friends and family! Raining Fish and Frogs This unusual weather phenomenon is not quite the same as raining cats and dogs. It’s not a figure of speech, but it’s not quite literal, either. In regions around the world, people have occasionally reported seeing a small aquatic animal – such as fish and frogs – fall from the sky, sometimes miles away from water. This occurs when waterspouts suck up water and aquatic life into the clouds high above. It isn’t until the winds die down that the squirming passengers are dropped onto unsuspecting people below. Colored Rain If you saw red rain falling from the sky, what would you think? This unusual weather phenomenon is quite easy to explain with a little climate science. Reddish-colored dust is picked up by strong winds where it mixes with rain clouds high in the atmosphere. Then, when the rain comes pouring down, it has a reddish hue. Other colors have been spotted as well: swept up pollen can cause yellow rain, light-colored dust can form milky rain, and coal dust can create menacing black rain. Blue Moon The phrase “once in a blue moon” refers to the infrequent occurrence of two full moons in a single calendar month. However, there are times when the moon can actually appear blue. Ash from forest fires and volcanoes can shoot high into the atmosphere, mix with water droplets, and scatter the moon’s light from thousands of miles above the Earth. This causes the moon to adopt a temporary bluish hue. Fire Devil While not as powerful as a tornado, fire devils can look terrifying. They consist of whirlwinds that form over areas of intense heat. As the hot air rises, wind causes it to spin, pulling up wisps of fire that spin feverishly above the inferno below. Ice Bombs Normally, hail is softball-sized or smaller. While it’s no laughing matter to have a softball-sized hailstone plummeting toward your home or car, consider the devastation that can be caused by ice bombs. This unusual weather phenomenon describes huge, 80-pound hailstones that smash into hundreds of smaller pieces when they hit the ground – hopefully all they hit is the ground. Now you know more about some unusual weather phenomena that can occur. Be sure to use WeatherCaster’s best weather app for a simple, beautiful way to keep tabs on the weather and take pictures of the strange cloud formations and other weather changes you happen to spot.
Air Pollution Affects Air pollution affects weather in more ways than you may realize. As you look at your best weather app, some of what you see may be caused by the effects of long-term pollution. Two common results of pollution are altered cloud formations and rainfall, which increases the severity of extreme weather conditions, including droughts and floods. Some air pollution effects are gradual and hardly noticeable, such as global warming, while others are severe and harmful, as with acid rain. Here’s a few ways air pollution affects the weather and who specifically this pollution affects. How Air Pollution Affects the Weather
  • Smog: Car exhaust and industrial emissions are the greatest cause of smog, so it’s really only prevalent in highly populated cities. Smog can cause long-term health problems, especially for individuals with sensitivities or a weakened immune system.
  • Greenhouse effect: This is one of the most talked-about air pollution effects. It’s caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide produced by burning fuel. It traps heat closer to the Earth, causing temperatures to rise and ultimately leads to climate change. This gradual warming trend causes oceans to rise as icecaps melt, and can cause shifts in weather patterns that create more hurricanes and other natural disasters.
  • Acid rain: While acid rain can be caused by volcanic emissions, it is more commonly associated with rain that has mixed with gaseous industrial pollution, creating acidic compounds that fall back to Earth as acid rain. This harmful pollution affects both plants and animals.
Who Does Air Pollution Affect? Despite the fact that a greater percentage of air pollution is generated in urban areas, rural residents can also be affected by air pollution. The only reason smog hovers around big cities is because air patterns can keep it trapped there. However, huge areas of booming industry, such as Asia, can create air pollution that affects communities halfway around the world. In fact, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times, Asia’s outpouring of dust, sulfur, carbon grit and trace minerals are causing changes in Pacific weather patterns. Air pollution, no matter its source, can cause a decrease in lung function and lead to more heart attacks, especially in sensitive individuals. If you have asthma or allergies, your symptoms could be trigged by air pollution and otherwise poor air quality. Urban areas may not be safe for people with lung or heart problems. Now you know how air pollution affects the weather and your health. For a simple, beautiful way to keep tabs on the weather, download WeatherCaster, the best weather app, today.
WeatherCaster Presents: The Heat Index The heat index is something that measures how we experience the weather. In this video, we explain what the heat index chart means, as well as what the numbers on the heat index chart mean for you.  
WeatherCaster Presents: Weather Photography Weather photography has created some of the most intriguing imagery to date. How many times have you seen a picture of a tornado that left you in awe? How about cold weather photography of a snowy field that left you breathless? The best thing about taking great pictures of the weather is that the weather does half the work! The next best thing about weather photography is that you don't need a ridiculously expensive DSLR camera to take great pictures of your favorite weather scene. Technology has advanced to the point where great pictures are at your fingertips. One of the best things about the WeatherCaster app is that it allows you to share your favorite weather pictures. Just open the app, point your device at the weather moment you want to share and take your picture. You will be prompted to share your picture with all of your Facebook friends or Twitter followers. It's that easy! Be sure to download WeatherCaster, available for free on the app store! Also, remember to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and add us to your Circle on Google+!
You’ve probably heard of the most common types of clouds – cumulus, stratus, cirrus and nimbus – but are you familiar with rarer, more beautiful cloud formations? Here are five different types of clouds and the science behind how they form. If you glance skyward and spot any of these clouds, be sure to use the picture-taking functionality of the best weather app. Snap a picture and share the bizarre cloud formation with your friends! Kelvin-Helmholtz Waves These beautiful, delicate clouds are formed when two layers of moving air brush past one another at different speeds. Then, some air between the two layers moves up or down, creating these splendid types of clouds that mimic ocean waves. Cirrus Radiatus Cirrus Radiatus clouds occur in the highest level of the troposphere and come in many different shapes and sizes. As with all cirrus clouds, this variety is wispy and transparent since the clouds are comprised of ice crystals. Cirrus radiatus clouds appear to converge on the horizon, but in reality, they are parallel to one another. Mammatus Clouds Also called mammatocumulus, these types of clouds are often associated with thunderstorms. They are formed in atmospheric conditions with more buoyancy than usual. Negative buoyancy and evaporation causes the clouds to puff downward instead of upward, so they look like upside-down bubbles hanging in the sky. Lenticular Clouds Due to their saucer-like shape, lenticular clouds are sometimes mistaken for UFOs. They often occur around an isolated mountain, which gets in the way of airflow. As air comes over the side of the mountain, it springs back up, cooling and condensing into a cloud as it rises. This creates the oval-shaped cloud above or near the mountain. Cumulonimbus Incus Nicknamed the anvil cloud, this formation is comprised mostly of ice particles. They develop above thunderstorms or even tornadoes. The shape comes from air rising in a thunderstorm, which expands and spreads as it comes in contact with warmer stratosphere air. This warmer layer doesn’t allow the cooler air to rise any further, thus causing the anvil shape that makes these types of clouds so interesting. Now you know some unique types of clouds to keep an eye out for. Be sure to use WeatherCaster, the best weather app, for a simple, beautiful way to keep tabs on the weather and take pictures of the different types of clouds you spot from day to day.
Ever wonder how weather is predicted? There are many different factors into weather prediction. Through expertise and advanced tools, meteorologists are able to create detailed weather predictions.
What is a jetstream? A lot of people hear "the jetstream" and are left cold. We at WeatherCaster are here to educate you on the jetstream and what it really means. Soon you'll find yourself answering those that ask, "What is a jetstream".
Weather advisories: do you know what to do when you hear one? What about the other weather alerts? With this video, you can find out what to do in the event of bad weather. You'll be able to spring into action at any weather advisories or any weather alerts you hear.
WeatherCaster Presents: Radar Imaging: Radar imaging is a very important tool in weather forecasting. You see it whenever you watch your favorite weather personality discuss the day's weather on TV or the radio. But what does radar imaging mean? You don't have to be an expert in weather terminology to know, since WeatherCaster is here to educate you about radar imaging! Through the use of pulses sent through the air, Radar imaging paints a vivid picture of the weather by bouncing off of rain, sleet, hail, and other weather phenomena. Essentially, radar imaging allows meteorologists to find out what goes on in the clouds. Radar imaging allows weathermen to see things they couldn't normally see, which provides greater insight for forecasting. With this handy guide, you can show off to all of your friends your new weather terminology. They'll be so jealous of all of your weather knowledge, they'll want to download WeatherCaster, the best weather app, too. WeatherCaster is now available for FREE in the iTunes store! Don't forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to us on YouTube, and add us to your Circle on Google+.  
On the Oct. 26th episode of GeekBeat.TV, WeatherCaster was named their #1 favorite weather app!
Heat-Wave-Definition If you’ve experienced the triple-digit temperatures blanketing different areas of United States throughout the summer, you may be wondering just what defines a heat wave. By definition, this weather terminology refers to a prolonged period of time when the weather is excessively hotter than usual in the area where it is taking place. Heat waves are often accompanied by high humidity, making the air feel muggy and hotter than it actually is. The cause of heat waves is a large high pressure system which forms in the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere, which can cause the mercury to rise 10 degrees or higher than usual. This summer has seen some of the hottest temperatures on record. In fact, according to AccuWeather.com, the 2012 summer has turned out to be one of the three hottest  summers in the past 60 years.  The month of July alone was the hottest July ever for the continental United States. A part of a heat wave definition is setting record highs. The ongoing heat wave shattered previous records across much of the United States, reaching well into the triple digits. The heat wave prompted those who were without air conditioning scurrying to the nearest beach, lake, shopping mall, or movie theater in search of relief from the heat. Heat waves, by definition, are more than just uncomfortable; they can also be dangerous. Authorities across the country have issued heightened fire danger warnings, pleaded for conserved energy use as electricity supplies were strained, and highlighted the importance of hydration to avoid hyperthermia. According to the Huffington Post, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Montana have been hit especially hard this year. Colorado, in particular, has suffered from almost double the normal number of 90-plus degree days this summer. The heat wave set a dozen fires ablaze in the state, destroying homes and other properties. Another facet of a heat wave definition is crop failure caused by drought and excessive temperatures. Farmers across the nation have suffered great losses, and consumers are finding the price of corn, wheat, and other products on the rise. There no doubt about it—the United States suffered through a devastating heat wave this summer. Now that you have a heat wave definition, you have a better idea of how it has affected the nation this summer. For a simple, beautiful way to keep tabs on the weather, download the WeatherCaster App for your device today.
Weather-Associated-With-High-Pressure You’ve seen the blue letter “H” on weather maps indicating that a high pressure zone is on its way in, but do you know what weather associated with high pressure is like? There are actually several types of weather that can result when this weather terminology is used, depending on the origin of the high pressure zone and the season during which it occurs. Here’s a look at what you might expect if a high pressure system is moving in.
  • Warm conditions: A high pressure center in the mid and upper-levels of the atmosphere tends to produce warm, clear conditions.
  • Cold conditions: A high pressure center in the lower levels of the atmosphere and at the surface in the winter usually brings cold temperatures, but not stormy conditions.
  • Clear skies: The column of air within a high pressure zone moves downward, which makes it difficult for clouds to grow.  This tends to clear the clouds from the sky creating this type of weather associated with high pressure.
  • Dry air: Sinking air within a high pressure zone tends to warm up and dry out, thus decreasing the chances of precipitation.
  • Slow, clockwise winds: The Coriolis effect is responsible for this weather associated with high pressure. (In the Southern Hemisphere, high pressure zones create slow, counterclockwise winds.)
  • Reduced air quality: Since wind speeds tend to drop in high pressure zones, pollution can build up. Higher temperatures allow for chemical reactions in the air to take place. Plus, the lack of clouds and warmer weather make the perfect conditions for smog or ground-level ozone.
  • Clear conditions followed by stormy weather: An abrupt fall in pressure may indicate that the nice weather associated with a high pressure zone will leave as quickly as it came, since a stormy low pressure zone may be following close behind.
  • Clear conditions lasting for days: A gradual rise in pressure usually indicates that nice weather can be expected for the next several days.
As you can see, weather associated with high pressure is generally mild and comfortable (except in the wintertime), which is why high pressure systems are often called “fair weather systems.” Therefore, if barometric pressure is rising, you can expect fair weather, few clouds, calm winds, and possibly higher concentrations of pollution. Now that you know what weather associated with high pressure is like, you can get a better idea of what is headed your way. For a simple, beautiful way to keep tabs on the weather, download the WeatherCaster App for your device today.
You’ve heard meteorologists use weather terminology like warm front weather, but what does it mean? Essentially, a warm front is the zone where a mass of warm air begins to replace a mass of cold air. Warm front weather signals a major change in current weather conditions. Here’s what to expect if a weatherman says a warm front is headed your way. Before the Warm Front Weather Hits
  • Atmospheric pressure steadily decreases and temperatures remain moderate.
  • Winds blow from the northeast, east, and finally southeast in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • Precipitation may occur in the form of drizzle, rain, freezing rain, sleet, or snow.
  • Stratus and nimbus clouds may cover the sky.
  • The dew point rises steadily.
As the Warm Front Weather Passes Through
  • Atmospheric pressure begins to level off.
  • Temperatures begin to rise and humidity increases.
  • Winds tend to shift to the southeast.
  • Precipitation dies off to a mere drizzle.
  • Stratus clouds dominate the sky.
  • The dew point remains steady.
After the Warm Front Weather Passes
  • Atmospheric pressure begins falling again.
  • Temperatures are higher than before the front hit, and then tend to level off.
  • Winds blow south or southwest in the Northern Hemisphere (north or northwest in the Southern Hemisphere).
  • Cloudy conditions begin to clear.
  • The dew point rises and levels off.
Ultimately, if a warm front is headed your way, you can expect an extended period of cloudy skies, followed by steady precipitation and poor visibility.  Once the warm front passes, you can expect to enjoy clearing skies and higher temperatures once again, but thunderstorms often form along a cold front that is attached to the warm front that precedes it. Now that you know what warm front weather is you can get a better idea of what weather is headed your way. For a simple, beautiful way to keep tabs on the weather, download the WeatherCaster App for your device today.
Cause-of-Droughts The cause of droughts is easy to understand, but difficult to prevent. Droughts are primarily caused by depleting precipitation over a prolonged period of time. Unlike a mere “dry spell,” the underlying condition that is the definition of this weather terminology can be incredibly damaging to crops, cause high food prices, lead to famine, and even result in death. Droughts slowly dry up the regions they affect and can last for years, making them one of top three threats to the human population (along with flooding and famine). Droughts are completely natural and occur quite frequently; in fact, in any given year, there is at least one drought occurring somewhere in the United States. There are a few causes of droughts, including:
  • Climate change
  • Changes in ocean temperature
  • Jet stream variances
  • Formation of large high pressure zones aloft
While the cause of droughts is a natural occurrence, the after effects can be devastating and last for decades or longer. Consider the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and how it changed the shape of the Midwest forever. Droughts affect people in three major ways:
  • Economically: With losses in the timber, agriculture, and fishing industries, consumers often suffer from higher prices or have difficulty finding certain products.
  • Socially: When droughts become severe, conflict can arise over who should control the fertile land, water resources, and scarce commodities. Droughts can even cause the loss of homelands, require lifestyle changes, and lead to increased health risks.
  • Environmentally: Water sustains all life, and during a drought, biodiversity may suffer, migrations may change, air quality can reduce, and soil can erode.
In areas where the cause of droughts is severe enough, officials may declare water usage restrictions, such as special lawn watering and car washing procedures. If there is a drought in your area, check with local authorities for more information about current water restrictions. While water conservation is essential during a drought, it’s good to be in the habit of conserving water every day for environmental reasons. You can conserve water by:
  • Irrigating efficiently.
  • Using more mulch or rocks in your yard.
  • Fixing leaks in pipes and at faucets.
  • Installing low-flow faucets and shower heads.
  • Taking shorter showers.
Now you know the cause of droughts and the best ways to limit their effects. For a simple, beautiful way to keep tabs on the weather, download the WeatherCaster App for your device today.
Belo Corp. (NYSE:  BLC) releases WeatherCaster, a best-in-class weather app. WeatherCaster-App DALLAS, August 28, 2012 – Today, Belo Corp. (NYSE:  BLC) announced the release of its new app, WeatherCaster. The app offers users an enhanced weather forecast experience through more than ten layers of nationwide weather data and sophisticated forecasting features. Belo partnered with digital product strategy and development company, Smashing Ideas, to create and build this new app from the ground up. WeatherCaster,  a national app available in all markets across the United States, provides robust weather alerts, animated radars and interactive maps - all in high definition – and is supplemented with forecasts, news and video from Belo’s local stations. Weather is a strength and focus for Belo on-air, online and in mobile. Belo has some of the top meteorologists across the country who inform and educate audiences about the weather 24 hours a day. These trusted meteorologists now provide detailed weather forecasts in WeatherCaster in addition to the expansive national weather information which is available. The WeatherCaster app was built to encompass all consumer needs for weather information. It serves the curious weather user who wants to know the weather today and tomorrow, but also wants to explore and share. Beyond the forecast, the app gives users the ability to collect, post and share their favorite weather photos and videos in a social community setting. “Today consumers need and expect more out of their weather forecast. Belo’s WeatherCaster takes this experience to the next level and the next screen. The app satisfies the lifestyle needs of consumers nationwide with the ability to present customizable national and hyper-local weather information,” said Joe Weir, Belo’s vice president/Digital. “Belo provides audiences news and information that makes their lives easier; WeatherCaster is another way to offer convenience to a national audience on the go.” WeatherCaster is available today at no cost.  More information can be found at http://www.weathercasterapp.com or download WeatherCaster directly from the iTunes store. WeatherCaster includes:
  • Customizable forecast dashboards
  • Watches and warnings
  • 10+ layers of weather radars, satellites, and data
  • Community photo galleries
  • Weather glossary with over 200 weather terms
About Smashing Ideas Smashing Ideas is a digital product strategy and development company. They bridge physical goods, media and services through connected experiences that are simple, intuitive and fun to use. Founded in 1996, with offices in the U.S. and UK, the company's clients include Discovery Communications, Sony, Random House, Toys R Us and Mattel. Their websites, mobile applications and digital solutions have received over 50 awards, including a Primetime Emmy nomination.  Additional information is available at www.smashingideas.com About Belo Corp. Television company Belo Corp. (NYSE:  BLC) owns and operates 20 television stations (nine in the top 25 markets) and their associated websites.  Belo stations, which include affiliations with ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and the CW, reach more than 14 percent of U.S. television households in 15 highly-attractive markets.  Belo stations rank first or second in nearly all of their local markets.  Additional information is available at www.belo.com.  
Media Contact: Britta Gidican (Smashing Ideas PR on behalf of Belo Corp.)
E-mail: Brittany.Gidican@smashingideas.com
Phone: 206.378.0100 ext. 137
What Is Density Altitude You know that density is the mass of an object divided by its volume, and that altitude is height above sea level, but what is density altitude? This weather terminology refers to the air’s density at a certain temperature, atmospheric pressure, and humidity level. Here’s a look at what conditions cause high and low density altitude, as well as brief real-world example of how density altitude affects airplanes. Temperature and Density Altitude The air is made up of 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen, and 1 percent other gases that move around and bump into one another at incredible speeds. When the temperature increases, these molecules move even faster and push even harder against their surroundings. If the air in a balloon is heated, the balloon expands and takes up more room. If the same amount of air in a balloon is cooled, it shrinks as the molecules mover slower and come closer together. Therefore, as temperature increases, density decreases, since the same mass of air takes up more space when it’s heated. Atmospheric Pressure and Density Altitude The closer you are to the ground, the more the atmosphere “hangs” over your head. This means higher atmospheric pressure (around 1,000 millibars) is found at sea level than 18,000 feet above sea level (about 500 millibars—half the pressure). While altitude plays a greater role in atmospheric pressure, weather systems can change the air’s density as well. Think of what happens when you press down on a bicycle pump: the air is compressed. Therefore, as pressure increases, density increases as well. Humidity and Density Altitude Scientists have known for a long time that humid air is less dense than dry air. The reason is because, as discovered by Amadeo Avogadro in the early 1800s, a fixed volume of gas at the same temperature and pressure always has the same number of molecules, no matter what type of gas it is. Since water vapor has a molecular weight of 18, it’s lighter than both nitrogen (molecular weight of 28) and oxygen (molecular weight of 32). The presence of water vapor pushes some nitrogen and oxygen molecules out of the way, replacing them with the same number of molecules that weigh less. Therefore, as humidity increases, density decreases. Summary of What Affects Density Altitude The air’s density is lowest on a hot, humid day at a high elevation when the atmospheric pressure is low, such as in Denver when a summer storm is moving in. The air’s density is highest on a cold, dry day at a low elevation when the atmospheric pressure is high, such as in Alaska on a calm but chilly winter day. Aircrafts fair better in higher density altitude situations because the higher density gives greater lift, more power to the engines, and greater thrust to the propeller. These performance enhancers more than offset the increased drag created by denser air, meaning pilots prefer cool, lower altitude flights through dry conditions. Learn more about what density altitude is and other weather terminology by visiting our website. Information Provided By: WeatherCaster App Staff
Facts About Solar Eclipses Even though the next solar eclipse visible in North America isn’t until October 23, 2014, it’s still good to brush up on facts about solar eclipses. Many of the following 10 fun facts may surprise you!
  • A total solar eclipse usually lasts less than 5 minutes, but some previous eclipses have lasted up to 7.5 minutes.
  • The impressive appearance of a total solar eclipse can be seen only within a 167-mile-wide strip of Earth.
  • Everyone within a 3,000 mile radius of the total eclipse can still enjoy a partial eclipse.
  • During a solar eclipse, some animals and birds behave perplexedly, not knowing whether the time has already come to sleep or not.
  • There are at least two (2) solar eclipses (partial, annular, or total) visible from somewhere on Earth every year, but there are never more than five (5) in a single year.
  • Anyone at the North Pole or South Pole will be able to see only a partial solar eclipse.
  • During a total solar eclipse, the horizon appears to glow. What you’re seeing is a distant location that’s not in the shadow of the moon, or direct umbra.
  • You might need a jacket during a total eclipse because the temperature can drop about 20 degrees or more as totality approaches.
  • If a total eclipse occurred over your hometown recently, you can rest assured it will happen again. In fact, nearly identical eclipses visible from a particular location on Earth occur every 54 years and 33 days.
  • Thanks to the study of ancient accounts recording solar eclipses, modern astronomers have determined that the Earth’s rotation is slowing by 0.001 second per century.
If you liked these facts about solar eclipses, visit our website to learn more about other facts and weather terminology. Information Provided By: WeatherCaster App Staff
Importance Of Coral Reefs Brightly colored coral reefs in tropical areas will continue to grow only if the importance of coral reefs is not ignored. After all, coral reefs are more than simply beautiful tourist attractions, and if humankind ignores the damage being done to the reefs, we could be the ones paying for it in the end. Here’s a look at the effects of global warming and the overall importance of coral reefs. Effects of Global Warming on Coral Reefs Warmer oceans: A temperature increase of merely one degree is enough to wipe out entire sections of coral reefs. As the water warms, corals are subject to bleaching, black band disease, white band disease, white pox, and white plague. If the coral can’t recover from the stress, which most don’t, the entire ecosystem surrounding them all but disappears. Ocean acidification: This occurs when the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the air being filled with greenhouse gases. This doesn’t kill coral reefs, but it can inhibit their growth by up to 50 percent because increased carbon dioxide in the water prevents them from growing more skeletons through calcification. Rising sea levels: Coral reefs are very picky about where they can grow. Rising sea levels caused by melting ice caps and the thermal expansion of the ocean could make it harder for coral reefs to receive the sunlight they need. Importance of Coral Reefs Reefs provide an entire ecosystem for thousands of marine species: Fishermen around the world rely on this ecosystem for their livelihood. Reefs act as a breakwater for nearby coasts: Storm surges can be the most deadly form of flooding, and coral reefs help protect coastal cities against possible devastation. Reefs provide unforgettable diving experiences: It’s hard to find something more inspiring than a flourishing coral reef. Likewise, it’s very depressing for divers to run across flattened, lifeless sections of coral reef and know that global warming is largely to blame for the death of these reefs. How to Protect Coral Reefs Support alternative energy: Look into solar panels, geothermal energy, wind power, and other alternative energy sources that acknowledge the importance of coral reefs by contributing less to global warming and climate change. Ride mass transit: Vehicle emissions would be reduced significantly if more people carpooled or rode mass transit to work and school. Volunteer to help clean up local waterways: The health of rivers and lakes ultimately affects the health of the ocean. If you can appreciate the importance of coral reefs and climate change, visit our website to learn more about other facts and weather terminology. Information Provided By: WeatherCaster App Staff
What Is Absolute Humidity When someone says, “It’s humid outside,” they are generally referring to relative humidity, but did you know that there are other “types” of humidity? So what is absolute humidity and specific humidity? All humidity readings measure the water vapor content in the air. Understanding the difference between different measurements of humidity will help prevent you from misinterpreting the information you’re given. Here, learn just what this weather terminology means and the difference between absolute, relative, and specific humidity. What is Absolute Humidity? Absolute humidity is the amount of water vapor divided by the total air and water vapor mixture. Determining absolute humidity this way is defined as volumetric humidity. It can range from 0 to about 30 grams per cubic meter when the air reading 86 degrees F (30 degrees C) is completely saturated. Absolute humidity is altered when air pressure changes. This is because varying air pressure changes air’s density. Because of this, chemical engineers often calculate absolute humidity by taking a mass of water vapor divided by a mass of dry air. This is known as the mass mixing ratio. What is the Difference between Absolute and Relative Humidity? Units: Absolute humidity is usually written in g/kg or kg/kg. Relative humidity is written as a percentage (%). Purpose: Absolute humidity is used for engineering calculations. Relative humidity is important for weather forecasts and reports, indicating the likelihood of precipitation, fog, or morning dew. What is the Difference between Absolute and Specific Humidity? Calculation: Absolute humidity is the amount of water vapor divided by the total air and water vapor mixture. Specific humidity is the total amount of water vapor divided by the amount of dry air in a particular mass.  Otherwise, absolute and specific humidity are quite similar in concept. Now that you know what absolute humidity is, visit our website to learn more about other weather terminology and facts. Information Provided By: WeatherCaster App Staff
Why Do Birds Migrate If you’ve ever noticed flocks of birds “heading south for the winter,” you may be wondering, why do birds migrate, and why are some of them content to stick around all year? It’s true—some birds are willing to fly thousands of miles back and forth every year while others live their entire lives in one local area. While some people believe the cold weather is what drives migratory birds out, this notion alone is false. In fact, no weather terminology can answer the question, why do birds migrate? Instead, food seems to be the driving factor in migratory patterns. In March 2007, W. Alice Boyle, an ecology lecturer at the University of Arizona, and Courtney J. Conway, an assistant professor of natural resources at UA and a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, released their findings on why do birds migrate? They wanted to determine the reasons for migration and whether size, food type, habitat or feeding habits had an impact on migratory behavior. By focusing on 379 species of New World birds from the Tyranni suborder, Boyle and Conway’s team concluded that food availability is the number one reason driving some birds to migrate. That means no matter what foods various species of bird choose to eat, if it grows scarce in the winter, they migrate to a region that offers their preferred food source. This is a sensible explanation of why birds migrate. Additionally, it’s less likely for bird species that forage in flocks to migrate. In other words, it seems to be that birds see two options: migrate to a place where finding food is easy or forage with a flock to deal with food shortages. Based on the findings of this study, it’s clear that the reason why birds migrate is due to feeding habits and food shortages in general during the winter, not bird size, specific diets or habitat.

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How Can You Prepare For A Tornado How can you prepare for a tornado, one of Mother Nature’s most violent storms? Tornadoes have the power to level entire towns in mere minutes with devastating winds that can reach over 300 miles per hour. While a majority of tornadoes occur in “Tornado Alley”, a region ranging from Central Texas to South Dakota, every state has at least a slight risk of being hit. Here’s what you need to know about preparing for this weather emergency before, during and after the storm. How can you prepare for a tornado? First, listen to NOAA Weather Radio to stay updated about changing weather conditions. Also, watch for approaching storms so you aren’t caught off guard. Warning signs of a tornado include a very dark, greenish sky, low-lying clouds, large hailstones and high winds. Second, make a family communication plan so everyone knows meeting places or communication methods in case of a tornado or other emergency. Finally, prepare an emergency kit filled with items needed to survive for at least 72 hours. This kit should include: nonperishable food, water, manual can opener, first-aid kit, radio, flashlight and batteries, small toolbox, moist towelettes and garbage bags for personal sanitation. What should you do during a tornado? An important part of knowing how you can prepare for a tornado is to have a plan for during the storm. Put on sturdy shoes and protective clothing, if available, to protect against shrapnel and wind-blown debris. If you’re in your home or another building when the tornado hits, go to the basement, cellar, or an interior room on the ground floor if there isn’t shelter underground. An interior bathroom is a great room to seek shelter in because the piping in the walls gives the room more stability. Trailers or mobile homes offer very little protection against the ravages of tornadoes, so get out of those structures immediately and seek shelter nearby. If you find yourself outside with no shelter, drive to the closest sturdy building, if possible. If you don’t have a car, or your vehicle is hit by shrapnel in your attempt to escape the storm, head to the lowest ground possible, such as a ditch. You are safer in a low, flat area than under an overpass or bridge. Never try to outrun a tornado. What can you do after the tornado has passed? Knowing what to do after the storm has passed is an important part of knowing how you can prepare for a tornado. Check yourself and those around you for injuries. Seek medical assistance if necessary, but don’t try to move any seriously injured person unless their current situation poses a threat. Be careful when you exit your sheltered area. Don’t touch downed power lines. Cooperate with safety officials and respond to requests for assistance from police or firefighters. Tornadoes can be terrifying, but now that you know how you can prepare for a tornado, you’re better equipped to face this weather emergency if it hits your area. Information Provided By: WeatherCaster App Staff
How to Read a Barometer If you’re interested in knowing how to read a barometer, you must first understand what a barometer is and what it measures. With some easy weather terminology, you’ll quickly understand how barometers are used by meteorologists to aid in weather predictions. What is a Barometer? Barometers have been around for about 350 years, though they are much more refined and predictable today. The first barometer was created by Italian scientist Evangelista Torricelli, who used a 34-foot tube filled with water to measure air pressure. Today, a three-foot glass tube filled with mercury provides readings with greater accuracy. For a barometer to work, a tube is filled with mercury and inverted in a small mercury reservoir. As the mercury in the tube sinks into the basin, it creates a vacuum. Atmospheric pressure then pushes down on the reservoir, forcing the mercury to move up and down in the tube. In this way, a barometer measures changes in atmospheric pressure. How to Read a Barometer The first important thing to understand is that barometers measure change. That means you need to know the average reading based on the current climate, elevation and season for a barometer to be useful. Barometers measure atmospheric pressure in inches or millibars. Here’s an example of how to read a barometer, assuming the average pressure is 30 inches.
  • Pressure equals 30 inches: When there is no change in pressure, the weather is usually stable with no major changes expected.
  • Pressure is greater than 30 inches: Pressure increases indicate that the air is “heavier,” which can be a reflection of cooler, much drier conditions moving in, or that the air is sinking, which tends to clear out any clouds and lessens the chance for precipitation.
  • Pressure is lower than 30 inches: Pressure decreases indicate that the air is “lighter” which can be a reflection of warmer, more humid conditions moving in, or that the air is rising, which can lead to cloud and/ or storm formation.  Low barometric pressure often means windy conditions are on the horizon.
Some barometers have weather indicators inscribed on their face to make it easy for the general public to understand how to read a barometer. Of course, there are exceptions to barometric readings, but these general guidelines of how to read a barometer provide an idea of how meteorologists use them to help make weather predictions. Information Provided By: WeatherCaster App Staff
How Are Weather Forecasts Made In answering the question, “how are weather forecasts made,” you must understand that a meteorologist uses a number of techniques to make his forecast. For thousands of years, humans have attempted to predict the weather by observing different cloud types, the color of the sky, and various weather phenomenon such as halos around the sun and moon to make short-range weather predictions.  However, in order to make more precise predictions, especially several days in advance, these techniques have given way to advanced scientific understanding and new weather terminology which have changed how weather forecasts are made. Here’s a look at the process that meteorologists use to predict the weather. Current State of the Atmosphere In order to be able to predict what the weather is going to do, one must have a thorough understanding of what the weather is doing now.  All around the world at roughly the same time weather instruments measure temperature, pressure, humidity, and wind velocity.  This is not only done at the surface but throughout the depth of the atmosphere.  This gives meteorologists a snapshot of what the weather is doing globally at an instant in time. Collecting and Assimilating the Data All this weather information is sent to the three weather data collection centers of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) with headquarters in Moscow, Melbourne, and Washington, DC. The US National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) in Camp Springs, Maryland, receives the raw data from the Washington, DC office and processes it for distribution within the United States. Data Processing Weather maps, graphs, and charts of current temperature, pressure, humidity, and wind velocity and other derived products are generated by computer at NCEP and are used to provide a detailed analysis of the current state of the atmosphere.  This information is then fed into computer programs called Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) Models which are a vital part in how weather forecasts are made.  NWP models use sophisticated mathematical techniques to project the current state of the atmosphere into the future. Forecast Models The laws of physics that govern the motion and physical changes in the atmosphere over time can be expressed as mathematical equations. The equations are highly complex, and no exact solutions are known to exist.  Therefore the equations must be simplified, often by making broad assumptions about what is going on in the atmosphere, in order to come up with reasonable solutions. But once all the weather data have been ingested and all assumptions have been made, the computer model uses mathematics to project the current weather conditions to about 5 minutes into the future.  This super short-range forecast is critical in how weather forecasts are made because it is this forecast 5 minutes into the future that is used as the NEW current state of the atmosphere, and the entire process is repeated.  This results in yet another 5-minute forecast.  This, in turn, is repeated over and over again until the desired forecast period is achieved. Making the Final Forecast The 5-minute forecasts are made for every point within the model's forecast area.  For the United States it is common to make these calculations at evenly-spaced points every 12 km across the country and surrounding region. And for each of the points in the horizontal, calculations must also be made at 60 levels in the vertical.  This yields over 33 million calculations for just a 5-minute forecast. For a 24-hour forecast literally trillions of calculations are performed ultimately resulting in what the computer model "thinks" the entire atmosphere over the United States will look like one day into the future. And depending on the accuracy of the weather observations and the initial assumptions made to simplify the physical equations, the resulting prediction generated by the computer model may or may not reflect actual future conditions.   Therefore, human input is still required to interpret the model data into understandable and reliable weather forecasts. With these techniques used in how weather forecasts are made, fairly accurate forecasts are possible, especially within a 72-hour range. It’s much more difficult, however, to create an accurate forecast several days in advance.  This can easily be appreciated by understanding that a 7-day forecast requires tens of trillions of mathematical calculations, each of which is not 100% accurate and thus contains a tiny bit of error.  Multiply that tiny error by over a trillion, and it becomes easy to see how the error can overwhelm the final forecast! However, if the atmosphere is relatively stable and chaos levels low, it’s possible for meteorologists to forecast the weather with reasonable accuracy up to about 2 weeks into the future. Thanks to the forecasts made by meteorologists, you can plan your activities around fairly accurate weather predictions for the next few days. Learn more about how weather forecasts are made by visiting WeatherCaster.

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