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.
Stats Say Global Warming Helps Batters Slug Balls Over Walls
HowStuffWorks Illustrated: Hurricane Categories
Why Ice Usually Freezes Cloudy, Not Clear
Where Wildfire Prevention Impacts People and Climate Most
A Comprehensive Guide to Hurricane Harvey: Facts, FAQs, and How to Help
A Comprehensive Look at Hurricane Maria in 2023
Learn More / Page 3
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.
Why does the sky get dark at night? Don't tell me it's just because the Earth rotates and the sun sets -- what I mean is, with all of its stars and other luminous bodies, why isn't the universe infinitely bright?
I read 'How Floods Work,' but I still have a question: Why are there so many more floods now? It seems like there are floods all the time, and it didn't used to be that way. Is it raining more?
You may have noticed signs on the highway that warn "Bridge Ices Before Road." What causes this to happen?
What is "wind chill"? Does it have any effect on inanimate objects?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center says the 2021 Atlantic hurricane shows no signs of slowing down. In fact it may have more storms than meteorologists first predicted.
By Sarah Gleim
Wildfires burning in Russia, particularly Siberia, have been unprecedented in 2021. What is sparking the outbreaks, and why are they so bad this year?
The Atlantic hurricane season is here, and forecasters have predicted a 60 percent chance of an above-normal season using all types of information to make the call. Here's how they do it.
Wildfires burning across the Western United States don't just destroy crops. The smoke can also impact the way vegetation photosynthesizes. But it's not all bad news.
The year 2020 saw some of the biggest lightning flashes ever recorded by humankind, called "megaflashes." But how much bigger is a megaflash than a regular bolt of lightning?
By Carrie Tatro
The goal of a chief heat officer is a big one: to mitigate the fallout of climate change, particularly as it relates to unfair distribution of risk based on income and social status.
They're an odd enough sight in the sky to make you do a double take. Ready for the "super cool" explanation behind hole-punch clouds?
The balance between Earth's incoming and outgoing energy is known as its "energy budget". Learn what's happening to it.
The raging wildfires in southern California have claimed lives and destroyed hundreds of homes. Learn how wildfires start and spread, and find out what firefighters do to battle the blaze.
By Kevin Bonsor
Around 1,800 thunderstorms are occurring on the Earth at any given time. But how do they form, and what causes them?
We hear about humidity in just about every weather report on the nightly news. There are several different ways meteorologists measure humidity, but relative humidity is the most common measurement. What is relative humidity, though?
Flooding has claimed more lives than any other natural disaster. Find out how a gentle stream becomes a raging torrent.
By Tom Harris
An earthquake is one of the most terrifying phenomena that nature can dish up. We generally think of the ground we stand on as "rock-solid" and completely stable. An earthquake can shatter that perception instantly, and often with extreme violence.
Every night on the news, the weatherperson reports the UV index. What is the UV index and how is it calculated?
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?