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.

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?

Before barometers and thermometers, people looked to the land and local lore to predict rain or shine. Have sophisticated statistical models and measuring tools changed the art of forecasting the weather that much?

Chances are you could formulate a reasonably well-informed guess. Why not read the article and get the definitive answer?

You might think of weather as something that happens around your life. It could prevent you from taking a bike ride or inspire you grab an umbrella on your way out. But there's more to weather than its ability to thwart the best-laid plans.

It may seem like a perfectly reckless display of aeronautical wiles, but guiding an airplane into a swirling beast of a hurricane gleans data that can save lives. The only question is, who were the crazy mavericks who attempted it first?

Many cultures have a flood myth -- an ancient story of a deluge that swallowed the Earth. So could a great flood really have happened, and how would we be able to tell?

When the earliest tornado on record was observed, onlookers called it a "steeple of fire." Technological advancements like the Totable Tornado Observatory have since helped demystify these powerful storms.

When climate variations mix with unsustainable agriculture and urbanization, vast swaths of once-fertile lands transform into deserts. Is the U.S. in danger of becoming a dried-up wasteland?

When the weather radio sends the ominous signal that a tornado is near, most people run for cover. But some die-hard adventurers get their jollies by chasing these violent storms. Who started this dangerous hobby?

We all know it's a little cooler under a shady tree. But do trees have an effect on the five-day forecast, or even the global climate?

Ball lightning can float through the air, pass through walls and even kill you. What could it be, and why are scientists finally accepting this strange meteorological phenomenon?

A heavy rain in which frogs come plummeting down isn't a pretty sight, but it happens more often than you'd think. Why do animals sometimes fall from the sky?

Thunderstorms are impressive and destructive elements of nature. This collection of images highlights some of the most spectacular features of storms.

The birds stop chirping, and the wind chimes are silent. This eerie calm that's invaded your neighborhood is just a temporary pause before the shrills and shrieks of the incoming storm.

Witch homicide aside, Dorothy was lucky that her home safely traveled to Oz after the tornado. Many people who lived through the storms on our list were left with nothing.

Can Fido predict an incoming tornado? If animals can predict the weather, do we stop trusting the weatherman and start visiting the zoo to get tomorrow's forecast?

Did bunnies just attack that sailboat, or was it a narwhal playing with a school of fish? Are you going crazy, or are you just watching the clouds?

If a tornado was heading your way, you'd probably head for the hills. But for some people, it's just the beginning of a chase.

Some of the most dramatic displays of nature can be found in the form of lightning bolts. This stunning image gallery showcases this fascinating phenomena.

Auroras are stunning natural light shows that are visible only in certain parts of the world at certain times of the year. Where can you go to see one?

Being struck by lightning is a little more complicated than a sudden collision with a flash of light from the sky. How can someone survive such a jolt?

Acid rain is caused by emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from power plants, cars and factories. Find out how acid rain is produced, how it affects natural and man-made objects and how governments aim to reduce it.

As a dominant world power, there's not much that China doesn't affect or control outright these days, including the weather. How did the superpower produce flawless skies for the biggest party of the year?

For three years, ending in the spring of 2007, the state of Texas experienced a terrible drought. When a large storm system settled over the state late that spring, many Texans rejoiced. But then the rain continued. And continued. For 45 days, it didn't stop.

Tornado chasers generally stay about a mile away from the tornado itself -- but not IMAX cinematographer Sean Casey. He has built a Tornado Intercept Vehicle and hopes to withstand a direct hit. Check it out.