Home » Educational Topics in Meteorology

Smoke from West Coast Wildfires seen by NOAA Satellites

A blocking weather pattern has encompassed much of the nation throughout the summer. A persistent area of high pressure and large-scale, high-amplitude ridging over the western half of the country has resulted in hot temperatures and extremely low atmospheric moisture content. These are the conditions necessary for the development of wildfires. Last week, NOAA’s Geostationary … Read more

Cool things that Doppler weather radar can detect!

The National Weather Service’s Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) network across the United States consists of 155 Doppler radar sites operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In 2013, the entire WSR-88D network was upgraded to dual-polarization capabilities, meaning that the Doppler radar can emit pulses in both the horizontal and vertical plane. … Read more

General Snow Forecasting

Historic snowstorm in North Texas on 2/12/2010. DFW recorded its greatest 24-hour snowfall of all time (12.5").

Snow is a precipitation type that results from the build-up of ice deposition upon condensation nuclei. The snowflake size is amplified as ice crystals join together as the crystals move in the wind. A common theme in ice crystal development is the 6-sized structure of the ice crystals. The chemical bonding of ice molecules produces … Read more

Undular Bores (Atmospheric Gravity Waves)

Atmospheric gravity waves, known as undular bores, are waves in Earth’s atmosphere that often show up quite well on satellite and radar imagery. They are notorious for creating wave-like clouds, which clearly propagate as waves when viewed in rapid time-lapse photography.  Low-level atmospheric stability is implicated in the formation of undular bores.  Large static stability … Read more

Heat Index Calculator & Charts

Definition of Heat Index: The heat index is an estimate of how hot the air “feels” to the human body and provides a relative indication of potential health risks. Among others, the two primary factors in the heat index equations are temperature and water vapor (i.e., moisture/humidity). Humidity affects the efficacy of perspiration to evaporatively … Read more