Weather Word of the Day
May 28, 2020
The mesosphere is a layer of the Earth's atmosphere located at an altitude of 30 to 50 miles above the Earth's surface. It is the layer where most meteors burn up upon entering the atmosphere. Because of this, there is a high concentration of iron and other metals in the mesosphere.
May 27, 2020
The hydrosphere is composed of the sum of all the water on Earth. This includes all the Earth's surface waters such as oceans and lakes, as well as all sources of frozen water. Water vapor and therefore clouds are also included in the hydrosphere.
May 26, 2020
Loaded Gun (Sounding) -
A description of the state of the atmosphere that is characterized by extreme instability. Loaded gun soundings contain a stable layer, called a cap, that must be broken through in order for the instability to be unleashed. If the cap is overcome, rapid development of strong to severe thunderstorms can be expected.
May 25, 2020
The apparent twinkling of a star due to its light passing through regions of differing air densities in the atmosphere. This results in the light being refracted and scattered before it reaches the viewer.
May 24, 2020
The atmospheric shell extending from the top of the mesosphere to outer space. It is a region of more or less steadily increasing temperature with height, starting at around 50 miles above the surface. This layer is around 320 miles thick and temperatures in this layer can reach 4,500 F. The International Space Station orbits the Earth in this region of the atmosphere!
May 23, 2020
Gulf Stream -
A warm, swift, and narrow ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico and then heads north along the east coast of the U.S. The Gulf Stream eventually makes it all the way to western Europe. Without the Gulf Stream, western Europe would be subjected to much colder winters.
May 22, 2020
The point in the orbit of a planet in which it is closest to the sun. For Earth, the time of year when it's orbital path comes closest to the sun occurs in early January. This can be surprising to learn for folks in the Northern Hemisphere who experience winter during that time of the year. This just proves how much more impactful the Earth's tilt is compared to its distance from the sun during its orbit.