Climate & Weather

Atmospheric sciences help us understand and predict the weather. Learn about topics such as the seasons, why it snows, and how rainbows are formed.


During the unusually cold winter of 2014, the term "polar vortex" got quite a workout, causing many to wonder if it was a new weather phenomenon. Actually, the polar vortex is always with us – just usually with a lower profile. But will that change?

When a hurricane or flash flood strikes a city, it can leave residents stranded in their cars, homes or other buildings waiting for rescue. How do rescue teams know where to go first?

A very strong storm doesn't automatically mean death or destruction. You can improve the odds of surviving intact with reinforcements to your home. Plus, scientists are improving their forecast methods. Let's look at high-tech and low-tech storm alerts.

"Nor'easter" is one of those words that makes you think of an old mariner scanning the horizon for a pending storm. What does it really mean -- and why don't we say "northeaster"?

What makes a nor'easter different from your run-of-the-mill winter storm? And which ones have done the most damage?

Auroras themselves aren't rare, but spotting one can be tricky: You need a clear, dark sky within one of the auroral zones. What are 10 spots that up the odds a bit?

If you've ever spied a night sky splashed with vivid billows of color, either you have access to interesting drugs or you've seen an aurora firsthand. If it's the latter, your sky-gazing probably took place during spring or autumn. How come?

Many folks in the Northern Hemisphere are still waiting for their full-blown snowman invasion to hit. Is Frosty ever going to come this winter?

Though they're outranked by other, more dangerous natural phenomena, dust storms can still do serious damage to life and property. What causes these massive storms?

Have you ever wondered how weather stations gather all of their data? Even though technology for predicting the weather has improved, simple weather balloons do a lot of the hard work every day.

We found paradise! From rainforests to mountaintops we have uncovered the top countries with perfect climates. Take a look at these countries and their unique climates here.

Is hurricane intensity increasing? It all depends on who you ask. How have scientists come to so many different conclusions about the ferocity of these seasonal storms?

A perfect climate means different things to different people. These 10 countries span the globe and offer a wide range of climates to satisfy any taste -- hot, cold or in-between.

Who likes getting caught in a downpour without an umbrella? Not this guy and not us. Are we ever going to achieve rainmaker status so we can dial up a few gentle showers one day and a blast of sunshine the next?

We can put a person on the moon. We can zip particles around accelerators at insanely high speeds. But nope, we cannot tell you for sure whether you'll need that animal print umbrella tomorrow. Why not?

If you've ever lived in a northern climate, you know snowstorms -- and the damage they can cause -- quite well. Heavy snowfall is just one mark of a bad storm, but the biggest snowstorms of all time also brought strong winds and cold air.

Fujita (foo JEE tuh), Tetsuya (tet SOO yuh) Theodore (1920 - 1998) was a Japanese-born American meteorologist.

Zhu Kezhen (1890 - 1974) was a Chinese scientist who became a well-known specialist in climatology, the science that deals with patterns of climate.

Abbe, Cleveland (1838-1916), a United States meteorologist, often called the "father of the Weather Bureau." As director of the Cincinnati Observatory, 1868-73, Abbe issued daily weather reports, which led to the federal government's establishment of a national weather service.

Espy, James Pollard (1785--1860), a United States meteorologist. Espy's use of the telegraph to assemble weather data laid the foundations of weather forecasting.

Why are there so many pictures of rainbows? And what’s on the other side? Hum along with us as you browse through a few snaps of one of nature’s most beautiful effects.

Salt is often sprinkled on the roads in the winter to melt the ice. Have you ever wondered why salt is used?

Barometers are used to predict the weather. What exactly does it mean when the weatherman says the barometer is rising or falling?

Whether you're planning an outdoor wedding or a Saturday morning tag sale, it's nice to know ahead of time what the sky is going to do. But does checking the 10-day forecast do any more good than praying for sunshine?

For 500 years, explorers searched for the fabled Northwest Passage, a route that connected the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Could global warming reduce the risk and open the passage for modern business?