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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In 2014, scientists observed a space hurricane for the first time; they reported their findings this year. But what's a space hurricane — and do we on Earth have to worry about with them?

By Valerie Stimac

When the wind starts whipping and the weather gets wild, it's important to know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning.

By Carrie Tatro

Dusk is a beautiful time of day. So is twilight. But when does one turn into the other? And did you know there were three versions of each?

By Valerie Stimac

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It might seem that the constant rushing of water over a falls would keep it from freezing, but that isn't always the case. Check out the science behind the phenomenon of the frozen waterfall.

By Mark Mancini

These intense snowstorms can come out of nowhere. They may not last long, but their rapid snowfall and whipping winds can make them disastrous.

By John Donovan

Hygrometers are used by many professionals to monitor levels of humidity in the air. So, do need one in your home?

By Cherise Threewitt

You probably recognize these right off the bat: Andrew, Katrina, Sandy and Sally. But when and why did we start giving hurricanes names?

By John Donovan

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This unusual storm called a derecho can be as frightening as a hurricane or a tornado and can travel hundreds of miles sowing destruction in its path.

By Jesslyn Shields

A single stalk of corn can create its own microclimate. But what is a microclimate, and why do they even matter?

By Mark Mancini

These annual winds blow during Southern California's dangerous dry season, whipping up wildfires that can ravage thousands of acres.

By John Donovan

Monsoons are a regularly occurring seasonal climate feature in the tropics, where a contrast between land and ocean temperatures causes shifting winds and brings heavy rainfall.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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

There's nothing quite as relaxing as a nice bubble bath at the end of the day. However, take one during a thunderstorm and you may have a shocking experience instead.

By Kate Kershner

Spaghetti models are a way of visualizing data from many different hurricane models to predict a storm's probable path.

By Patrick J. Kiger

While most of the rest of the world has switched to Celsius, the U.S. continues to use the Fahrenheit temperature scale, apparently out of simple inertia.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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The simple explanation is you have to be in just the right spot and the conditions have to be perfect for you to see the entire 360 degrees.

By Mark Mancini

Auroras are one of the best parts about living on a planet with a global magnetic field. And they still puzzle space weather experts.

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

Whenever a winter is exceptionally cold, the term "polar vortex" gets thrown around, causing many to wonder if it is a new weather phenomenon. Actually, the polar vortex is always with us – just usually with a lower profile.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Rock salt is the go-to for melting ice on the roadways. But why?

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

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You may never see it happen live, but if you do, consider yourself lucky. Because this meteorological phenomenon doesn't happen very often.

By Mark Mancini

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.

By Mark Mancini

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

By Mark Mancini

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

By Mark Mancini

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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.

By John Donovan

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

By Patrick J. Kiger