During the Monsoon, funnel clouds sometimes greet southern Arizona, creating a unique spectacle in the sky. When the Monsoon flow, which comes from the tropics, is moving very rapidly, wind aloft will
Creating a spectacle in the sky, monsoon storms can sometimes spawn funnel clouds. Here's why and how.
When storms from the Mogollon Rim aim toward Tucson, they frequently bring with them damaging wind. Unlike a "typical" Monsoon day, where storms are moving very slowly, when the "Mogollon Rim" pattern
Here's how some of the most destructive Monsoon storms form.
**There will be an "annular" solar eclipse visible from Arizona on May 20, 2012.** Solar eclipses are amazing to observe. To observe them, never look directly at them. Instead, create a solar eclipse
Learn the difference between a total and an annular solar eclipse in this Weather 101 story.
An atmospheric pattern that remains stagnant for days on end is known as a "blocking pattern." One example of this is a "Rex Block." A Rex Block happens when high pressure is located north of low pressure,
Patterns like the "Rex Block" can result in continuous weather patterns with very little day-to-day variations.
We've been taught that when spring begins, the day will have equal daylight and dark hours. In other words, that there should be 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of dark on the first day of spring. Spring
We've been taught that when spring begins, the day will have equal daylight and dark hours. That's not the case! Here's why.
A comet is a remnant from the formation of stars and planets billions of years ago.It is made of ice and rocks.As the comet is hurled toward the sun by gravitational forces, its ice is vaporized. That
The tail, the middle, it's all part of a comet!
(VIDEO NOTE: THE VIDEO ASSOCIATED WITH THIS STORY GIVES A GENERAL ILLUSTRATION OF THE STORY THAT FOLLOWS. IT IS FOR A SPECIFIC TIME AND SIGHTING OPPORTUNITY AND SHOULD BE USED AS A GUIDE. SPECIFIC FUTURE
A step-by-step guide to finding and recognizing the International Space Station in the night sky.
A lot of weather folklore has roots in actual human observance of weather conditions. Take for instance the ring around the moon. A moon halo, like the one below, is said to indicate a snowstorm arriving
Is Groundhog Day linked in any way to real science? How did it start? Find out here!
Have you seen clouds like the ones in the photo below? It was taken by Astronaut Chris Hatfield (Canada) from the International Space Station. Notice the mountain range on the right side of the picture.Wind
How do mountains form rows of clouds?
Have you ever seen a ring around the moon or sun? I'm not talking about just a fuzziness around the sun or moon. I mean a discernable ring. Cirrostratus clouds, like the one in figure 1 below, are made
Light shining through ice crystals helps create a halo that can be seen around the sun or the moon.
When the wind is out of the east, Tucson is about to warm up. Here's why!The elevation in New Mexico is higher than the elevation here in Tucson. So, the air, when the wind is from the east, is originating
Air warms on its journey with an east-to-west wind from New Mexico. Learn why here!
Have you ever seen the edges of very thin clouds look like oil on water, like the inside of a sea shell, like a smudgy rainbow? If you have, then you've seen cloud "iridescence". It's actually quite
Have you seen a blurred, smudged rainbow in a cloud? Check out this step-by-step explanation of what nature is doing!
Did you see the halo around the sun that also had a couple of "extra" suns in it?Then you saw an optical phenomenon called a 22 degree halo and sun dogs.The halo itself goes around the sun at a distance
Did you see the bright lights on each side of the sun? If so, you've seen sun dogs!
"Once in a blue moon..." It's a cliche that we hear often. It's meaning is that something only happens once in a while.A blue moon may not live up to the cliche's name, though. A blue moon happens every
It doesn't turn blue. But, it's still fun!
You've likely heard the phrase. And, it's not usually uttered with fondness. The "Dog Days of Summer" represents the hottest, most swealtering part of the summer. In the northern hemisphere, this is July
It's the "evil" time of year. The Dog Days of summer has its origin in Roman mythology.
Check out this photo. It's from Adrienne Gauthier. It has a small rainbow in it. But, that's not what's most interesting about this shot. It's the dark shadows appearing to converge in the sky on the OPPOSITE
Strange shadows that look like giant rays being emitted OPPOSITE of the sunset... here's the answer to the mystery of Anticrepuscular Rays!
"Haboob" is an Arabic word referring to a giant dust storm. Unlike a localized event of blowing dust, these clouds of dust can overcome metropolitan areas of millions of people, snarling traffic and closing
Learn how historic haboobs, or giant clouds of dust, form and affect Arizona.
Surges of moisture up the Gulf of California, through Rocky Point and into Arizona help enhance Monsoon storm development. They happen when clusters of thunderstorms or even dying tropical systems get
They enhance Monsoon storm development. They are Gulf Surges!
Have you ever noticed how red sunrises and sunsets are when there is a wildfire in the area? Here's why! When the sun is directly overhead, there is not much atmosphere for sunlight to go through before
Have you ever noticed how red sunrises and sunsets are when there is a wildfire in the area? Here's why!
Microbursts are made of wind rushing down to the ground. Once the wind hits the ground, it spreads in all directions. Wind speeds in a microburst can be 60-100mph, damaging roofs, snapping trees and knocking
How do destructive wet microbursts form? Find out in this edition of Weather 101!
When wildfires or forest fires grow large enough and hot enough, they begin to control the weather around them. Pyrocumulus clouds, where "pyro" refers to fire and "cumulus" refers to billowing, form
When wildfires grow large and powerful, they begin to control or modify the weather around them. Sometimes, large clouds can form above the fire. How they form and what they are in this edition of Weather 101!
During the summer months, the monsoon in the southwest US and northwest Mexico gets cranking. The term "monsoon" means seasonal change in wind pattern. In the southwestern United States, this seasonal
The monsoon and the tropics are forever linked. Here's a quick and easy lesson on how!
Microbursts are common in southern Arizona during the Monsoon. They often take down power poles, leaving us in the dark and without air conditioning during the hottest part of the summer! Although microbursts
They are some of the most destructive storms in the Southwest. Learn about "microbursts" here.
On a really hot day the landscape between Tucson and Phoenix is often dotted with huge dust devils: swirling wind that resembles a tornado, but that has no cloud above it. Here is a dust devil in Arizona: Figure
Dust devils can do some serious damage! That, and they are fascinating! Learn how they form in this edition of Weather 101: Dust Devils!
The moon's path around the earth is not a perfect circle. As a result, it is closer at times and farther at others from the earth. When it is at its closest to earth, it is a point we call "perigee".
The moon will create stronger tides and look bigger during a "super moon." Find out all about it here!
OK, admit it! On a really windy day, you've noticed that the water in the toilet is moving. But, the plumbing is underground, so how can wind affect it? Every toilet has a vent pipe that goes outside.
An interesting science principle is at play when the water in your toilet is jiggling on a windy day.
We live in a desert. What makes us so dry? Learn the three things here!
What caused the wonderful spires of Arizona's Chiricahua National Monument?
Clouds often take shapes that make our imaginations go wild. One type of cloud that appears to really live up to its nickname is Altocumulus Castelanus, otherwise known as "Jellyfish Clouds."
Satellite pictures sometimes reveal man-made clouds caused by cargo ships. Find out how in this edition of Weather 101.
It's sometimes Arizona's only chance for rain in a La Niña (dry) winter. Learn about the Madden-Julian Oscillation here.
Ever wonder why airplanes sometimes leave a trail that looks like a cloud?
Just like a rainbow created as sunlight goes through raindrops, rainbows can form in clouds. How does this happen?
One of the most beautiful things in nature, the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights are the visible manifestation of particles hurling from the sun toward earth. How do they form?
The continental United States has been drier and warmer than normal this winter. Alaska, on the other hand, has been burried in snow. One major reason for this is a Positive Phase Arctic Oscillation. Find out what it's about in this article.
Freezing rain takes a special setup in the atmosphere. Find out how nature's icy grip creates this phenomenon.
One of the triggers for afternoon summer thunderstorms in the South is the Ocean Breeze. Learn how it forms in this story.
These gorgeous clouds are rare. In this story: how they form.
See how air from Arizona helps produce some of the world's most violent weather.
Ever wonder why the moon changes shape in the sky? Here's the answer!
It's important to Arizona!
Why do seasons occur? Find out here!
The difference in wind flow below and above these unique clouds creates their magical appearance.
Wavelength... it's important!