Forces of Nature

We see the destruction that the Earth can unleash in the news on a regular basis. Here you can learn about hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and other forces of nature.

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What causes the seasons? Why are the seasons reversed in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres? And if the Earth moves in an elliptical orbit around the Sun, why don't we have two summers and two winters every year?

What is the "heat index" that the weatherperson talks about during the summer? Also, why is the air comfortable at only 80 degrees F even though body temperature is 98 degrees F?

You may have heard that you can figure out how far away lightning is by how long it takes for the thunder to arrive after you see the flash. Is this true? How do you calculate it?

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Why is it colder at the top of a mountain than it is at sea level? Heat rises, and the top of a mountain is closer to the sun, so shouldn't it be hotter at the top of a mountain?

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

Hurricanes seem to have a mind of their own as they track across the Atlantic Ocean. While they all follow the same general directions, local weather patterns effect where they ultimately land. Find out why hurricanes move the way they do.

Precipitation can vary from rain to snow when the temperature is below freezing. Why does precipitation not always fall as snow when it's below freezing?

A tornado is one of those amazing, awesome acts of nature that simply leaves you dumbfounded -- a huge, swirling, 200-mph beast of a storm that appears to have a mind of its own.

By Marshall Brain & Robert Lamb

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Lightning is an incredible force of nature. And like many natural phenomena, lightning is not always what it seems. Go behind the mystery and learn what's really going on when lightning strikes.

By John Zavisa & Jesslyn Shields