When does a storm become a hurricane?

Some people might answer: when it blows the roof off your house. The weather men see it differently. ‘Hurricane’ is one of the names given to violent tropical storms. These develop over warm tropical seas and blow up into huge spinning storms of clouds and rain. Hurricanes can be driven by winds reaching speeds of 300 kilometres per hour and can cause terrible damage.

The system used to measure wind speed is called the Beaufort scale. Hurricane is at the top of the scale and is known as force 12. When the wind reaches 122 kilometres an hour, a violent storm of force 11 becomes a hurricane of force 12.


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Who predict the weather?

Weather Watchers

Everyone is a weather watcher, but almost no one knows how hot, how cold, or how wet it will be tomorrow or next week. But meteorologists can predict the weather.

A meteorologist is a scientist who studies the earth’s atmosphere and its weather and climate. Meteorologists are weather watchers or weather forecasters.

How do meteorologists predict the weather? They search for clues. They check the wind’s speed and direction. They record the temperature of the air, the air pressure, and the amount of water in the air.

Meteorologists also gather information from weather satellites in outer space. These satellites circle the earth and photograph clouds and any gathering storms. The pictures are then sent back to the earth.

Information also comes from weather stations on the earth’s surface. A type of radar called Doppler is used to study winds and storms. It can find approaching storms more than 320 kilometres away from the station.

Meteorologists gather weather reports from all over the world. They use this information to draw weather maps. They also use computers to make forecasts. You hear their forecasts every day on television or over the radio. But since the weather changes quickly sometimes, meteorologists usually update their forecasts.

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What is Weather?


Somewhere on the earth right now, it is cloudy and rainy. Somewhere it is sunny. Somewhere it is dark, windy, and snowing.

What is the weather like today where you are? Is it raining? Does it look as if it’s about to snow? Is the sun shining?

Do you ever talk about the weather? Many people do. Almost everyone cares about the weather.

The weather affects us in many ways. Day-to-day changes in weather can influence how we feel and the way we look at the world. Severe weather, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and blizzards, can disrupt many people’s lives because of the destruction they cause.

Weather doesn’t just stay in one place. It moves, and changes from hour to hour or day to day. Over many years, certain conditions become familiar weather in an area. The average weather in a specific region, as well as its variations and extremes over many years, is called climate.

There are six main components, or parts, of weather. They are temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation, and cloudiness. Together, these components describe the weather at any given time. These changing components, along with the knowledge of atmospheric processes, help meteorologists - scientists who study weather - forecast what the weather will be in the near future.

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          As everyone knows, predicting the weather can often be difficult. Professional weather forecasters, called meteorologists, use information collected by weather stations on land, at sea and on satellites in space. Rainfall, sunshine and wind speed can all be measured fairly easily, but they only tell us what the weather is like now. A better gauge of future weather is to study air pressure and cloud formation. Today's meteorologists use computers to help make sense of all the information received and to predict, based on past events, the weather of the future.

          ‘Observations’ are the readings of the weather that we take—not only quantities like air pressure, temperature and rainfall at the surface, but measurements in the upper atmosphere from weather balloons and aircraft, and also data from weather radars and satellites. Together, these observations of many different elements that make up the weather paint a picture of how it has been recently, and how it is right now. This information is critical—to forecast the weather into the future, we need to know where to start from!

          Computer Weather models, or technically, ‘numerical weather prediction’ models, are the main tools we use to forecast the weather. In a nutshell, they take all of the mathematical equations that explain the physics of the atmosphere and calculate them at billions of points within the atmosphere around the Earth. The weather models require enormous computing power to complete their calculations in a reasonable amount of time, meaning they use some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world—our supercomputer, for example, can handle more than 1600 trillion calculations per second! The models take the past and current weather observations of the atmosphere and ocean as the starting point, and plug them into the mathematical equations that calculate the weather into the future.

          Meteorologists are able to predict the changes in weather patterns by using several different tools. They use these tools to measure atmospheric conditions that occurred in the past and present, and they apply this information to create educated guesses about the future weather. Always remember that a weather forecast is an educated guess – meteorologists (and mankind, in general) cannot control the weather. The best we can do is observe past and present atmospheric patterns and data, and apply this information to what we think will happen in the future. Meteorologists use the scientific method on a daily – and even hourly – basis!

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          The lower levels of the Earth’s atmosphere are in constant motion. As the atmosphere heats and cools, it expands and contracts, causing changes in pressure and air movement. These changes cause the weather that we experience on Earth. The daily occurrence of sunshine, rain, hail, snow, fog or wind is what we call weather.

          Climate is the overall weather in a particular area over a longer period of time. Weather, as in a weather forecast, refers to short-term conditions in the atmosphere in a particular location or region.

          Climate, on the other hand, describes the average daily weather for extended periods, such as if winters are cold and snowy or if summers are hot and humid, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Basically, climate is the average weather pattern in an area over a longer period of time, and weather patterns, according to NOAA, are caused by the flow in atmosphere. 

          “Weather is the mix of events that happen each day in our atmosphere,” NOAA reported. Although there is just one atmosphere on Earth, the weather is different around the world and changes over minutes, hours, days and weeks. A given area may experience a warm winter, or maybe a wet month or even a rainy decade, but that variance are still weather-related.

          So, one of the main differences between weather and climate is time, with weather referring to a short span of time and climate referring to longer-range weather patterns in a region, generally over 30 years or more. “While weather can change dramatically in a single location from day to day (for example, cold and rainy one day, followed by hot, dry conditions the next day), climate generally changes less quickly because it represents the average of weather conditions over a longer period of time,” according to the American Geosciences Institute.

          There are generally five types of climate, including dry, temperate, tropical, continental and polar. It’s hotter near the equator, for example, so locations closest to the equator have a more tropical climate, while areas closest to the Arctic and Antarctic have a polar climate. When it comes to weather, National Geographic reports, there are six main components: temperature, wind, humidity, atmospheric pressure, precipitation and cloud cover. Weather can includes all kinds of conditions, such as sunshine, rain, hail, snow, flooding, blizzards, thunderstorms, heat waves and more.

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