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We are in the midst of a 33-year hot streak. HowStuffWorks looks at the causes and whether we can do anything to change it.
Author's Note: 10 Scientifically Sound Weather Superstitions
As someone with two degrees in climatology/meteorology, I've heard more than my share of anecdotal weather wisdom. This article gave me a welcome chance to finally research several classics (debunking most of them) and to discover a few new ones in the process.
Of course, weather is very complex. There's a reason weather predictions suffer accuracy hits beyond a few days, and that chaos theorists use weather as a paradigm case. Even the rules-of-thumb listed here only work a percentage of the time. Still, you might find a few of them useful in a survival situation, or out at sea, or as a fun science project to try with your kids.
- Allen, J. D. et al. "Managing Heat Stress and Its Impact on Cow Behavior." Western Dairy Management Conference. March 6-8 Reno, Nevada. (Dec. 11, 2014) http://www.wdmc.org/2013/Managing%20Heat%20Stress%20and%20Its%20Impact%20on%20Cow%20Behavior.pdf
- Burns, Katie. "Q & A -- Why Do Pine Cones Open and Close?" San Diego Union-Tribune. Feb. 11, 2001. (Dec. 11, 2014) http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2001/feb/11/q-a-why-do-pine-cones-open-and-close/
- Doherty, John A. "Temperature Coupling and 'Trade-Off' Phenomena in the Acoustic Communication System of the Cricket, Gryllus Bimaculatus De Geer (Gryllidae)." The Journal of Experimental Biology. Vol. 114. Page 17. 1985. (Dec. 9, 2014) http://jeb.biologists.org/content/114/1/17.full.pdf
- Dolbear, A. E. "The Cricket as a Thermometer." The American Naturalist. Vol. 31, no. 371. Page 970. November 1897. (Dec. 9, 2014) http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/2453256.pdf
- Dunkel, Tom. "Lightning Strikes: A Man Hit Seven Times." The Washington Post. Aug. 15, 2013. (Dec. 12, 2014) http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/inside-the-life-of-the-man-known-as-the-spark-ranger/2013/08/15/947cf2d8-ea40-11e2-8f22-de4bd2a2bd39_story.html
- The Farmer's Almanac. "Cricket Chirps: Nature's Thermometer." (Dec. 9, 2014) http://www.almanac.com/cricket-chirps-temperature-thermometer
- The Farmer's Almanac. "Is It True That Cows Lie Down When It's About to Rain?" Jan. 1, 2006. (Dec. 10, 2014) http://farmersalmanac.com/weather/2006/01/01/is-it-true-that-cows-lie-down-when-its-about-to-rain/
- Hambling, David. "Weatherwatch: Spring Comes in Like a Lion, Goes Out Like a Lamb." The Guardian (UK). March 9, 2012. (Dec. 11, 2014) http://www.theguardian.com/news/2012/mar/09/weatherwatch-spring-storms-constellations
- The Library of Congress. "Can You Tell The Temperature by Listening to the Chirping of a Cricket?" Aug. 9, 2011. (Dec. 9, 2014) http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/cricket.html
- The Library of Congress. "Is the Old Adage 'Red Sky at Night, Sailor's Delight. Red Sky in Morning, Sailor's Warning" True, or is It Just an Old Wives' Tale?'" Oct. 2, 2014. (Dec. 16, 2014) http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/weather-sailor.html
- McAlindon, Tim, et al. "Changes in Barometric Pressure and Ambient Temperature Influence Osteoarthritis Pain." The American Journal of Medicine. Vol. 120, no. 5. Page 429. May 2007. (Dec. 9, 2014) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002934306010266
- NASA. "Lightning Really Does Strike More Than Twice." Jan. 14, 2003. (Dec. 12, 2014) http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2003/0107lightning.html
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). "Distance to Lightning." (Dec. 12, 2014) http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/educ/activit/lightng.htm
- Pidwirny, M. "Air Masses and Frontal Transitional Zones". In Fundamentals of Physical Geography, 2nd Edition. 2006. (Dec. 16, 2014) http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7r.html
- Shah, Allie. "Is Weather a Barometer of Painful Joints and Achy Bones?" Star Tribune. Dec. 9, 2014. (Dec. 9, 2014) http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/285128431.html
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Cirrostratus Clouds." (Dec. 16, 2014) http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/%28Gl%29/guides/mtr/cld/hgh/crss.rxml
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Sundogs." (Dec. 16, 2014) http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/%28Gh%29/guides/mtr/opt/ice/sd.rxml
- WBZ. "Curious Why There Are So Many Pine Cones." Oct. 1, 2010. (Dec. 11, 2014) http://boston.cbslocal.com/2010/10/01/curious-why-there-are-so-many-pine-cones/