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.

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Greenland Crater First Ever Found Beneath Glacial Ice Sheet

This ice-age asteroid crater isn't just the first of its kind. It may also be the smoking gun about what triggered the Younger Dryas, one of the most well-known examples of abrupt climate change.

Why Ice Usually Freezes Cloudy, Not Clear

Ice cubes usually look cloudy and opaque in the middle, despite the fact that water is clear. What's the deal?

Ice Crystals Cause Beautiful Noctilucent Clouds

Noctilucent clouds form at high altitudes when drifting particles become coated with ice crystals at low temperatures.

Storm Surge, Not Wind, Is the Deadliest Part of a Hurricane

Most people probably think high winds are the deadliest aspect of a hurricane. But they'd be wrong. It's the wall of water brought on by storm surge that barrels on shore taking out everything in its path.

Weather and Climate: What's the Difference?

It's sometimes easy to confuse the two, but weather and climate are very different things.

Why Hurricane Florence's Storm Surge Could Be So Deadly

Even though Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a Category 2, the storm could still unleash an historic amount of rain.

Battle Epic: When Hurricanes Clash With Volcanoes

Hurricane Hector is barreling toward the erupting volcano Kilauea. What could possibly be worse?

Did Africa Just Record Its Hottest Temperature Ever?

Scorching-high temps seem to be the norm this summer. So what does this kind of heat do to your body?

Meteotsunamis: How Winds Can Generate Catastrophic Waves

Tsunamis are triggered by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on the ocean's floor. But other massive waves are caused by wind and can come on suddenly and without warning.

Earth Hits 400 Straight Months of Hot

The evidence is clear: Human activities — like the burning of fossil fuels — are the main driving force behind modern climate change.

Scorching Heat in Pakistan May Have Set a World Record

The mercury soared to over 122 degrees Fahrenheit in Nawkwabash, Pakistan. It could be the highest April temp ever recorded on the planet.

Scientists Predict Record-breaking 2018 Hurricane Season

Scientists across the globe attempt to forecast upcoming hurricane seasons in the Atlantic. But how — and are they right?

Climate Change Threatens the Moai of Easter Island

The danger to the iconic statues is now greater than ever due to erosion and higher-energy wave action caused by climate change.

The Amazing, and Alarming, Science Behind Red Snow

Red snow? Yes. It totally exists. And while it might look cool, it's not exactly what you want to see from Mother Nature.

Lightning Deaths in the US Are Way, Way Down

In the mid-20th century, lightning strikes killed hundreds of Americans each year. Now, that number's dropped to only a few dozen. What's changed?

HowStuffWorks Illustrated: Hurricane Categories

Hurricanes can range in strength from Category 1 all the way to Category 5. Learn more about hurricane categories in this HowStuffWorks Illustrated video.

As Earth's Climate Changes, Is It Time to Redefine the Four Seasons?

The four seasons experienced by Earth's midlatitude regions are being gradually altered by global warming — but a climate expert says they won't completely go away.

Scientists Develop Clearer Idea of How Dino-Killing Asteroid Changed Earth's Environment

A new model describes in more detail how the Chicxulub asteroid affected our planet, from dropping temperatures to pausing photosynthesis, with soot playing an integral part.

Knowing a Tornado's Strength Could Save More Lives Than Knowing Its Exact Path

Researchers studying tornadoes use a common theory of economics to determine casualty rates.

'Pilot's Glory': Why a Rainbow Encircles an Airplane Shadow on Clouds

Very specific atmospheric conditions and just the right perspective are necessary to see the phenomenon.

Weather Patterns Are Getting Stuck as Climate Changes Affect the Jet Stream

Polar temperatures are changing more rapidly than equatorial ones, making the jet stream slower and wider, and extreme events longer-lasting.

Becoming Better Solar Meteorologists, With Help From Some Monster Waves

Explosive solar events are bad news for Earth, so it's good to keep an eye on space weather. Newly discovered "Rossby-like" waves could help them out with that big job.

Yes, Wind Can Blow You Away If It's the Right Speed

We've all seen shots of meteorologists fighting gale-force winds to report on storms. So just how high can the winds get before the reporters are knocked off their feet?

Earth's Early Atmosphere Was Briefly a Methane Haze

Earth's atmosphere used to be full of toxic hydrogen, but a brief period of methane smog cleared the way for valuable oxygen to set up shop.

Green Fireball Lights Up Midwestern Night Skies

Midwestern night owls got a meteoric surprise this week.


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