Weather For Dummies

Weather For Dummies

by John D. Cox

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Overview

"Weather For Dummies is probably the best book written for a general audience about the subject." BILL GATES 


Find out what's really going on when it seems like the sky is falling with
Weather For Dummies

What exactly is happening when the wind blows, the clouds roll in, lightning flashes, and rain pours down? How do hurricanes whip into a frenzy, and where do tornadoes come from? Why do seasonal conditions sometimes vary so much from one year to the next? The inner workings of the weather can be a mystery, but Dummies can help. Packed with dozens of maps, charts, and stunning photographs of weather conditions, Weather For Dummies brings the science of meteorology down to earth, covering everything from weather basics to cloud types, seasonal differences, extreme weather events, climate change, and beyond.

You'll learn how to:

  • Predict the weather and prepare a forecast
  • Use common weather terminology like a pro
  • Identify different types of clouds
  • Spot weather conditions that can lead to storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and monsoons
  • Observe fun weather phenomena like lightning, rainbows, sundogs, and haloes
  • Talk about what impact weather has on the global ecosystem
  • Get a handle on smog, the greenhouse effect, global warming, and other climate issues
Featuring clear explanations and fun and easy activities you can do at home, you'll be ready – rain or shine – for the ever-changing skies above with Weather For Dummies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119806790
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 12/22/2020
Series: For Dummies Books
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 202,593
File size: 19 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

John D. Cox is a professional science writer. He studied biological and physical sciences at Harvard and MIT, and served as a fellow of the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship Program at MIT.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 2

How This Book is Organized 2

Part 1: What in the World is Weather? 3

Part 2: Braving the Elements 3

Part 3: Some Seasonable Explanations 4

Part 4: The Special Effects 4

Part 5: The Part of Tens 4

Appendix 5

Icons Used in This Book 5

Where to Go from Here 6

Part 1: What in the World is Weather? 7

Chapter 1: Forecasts and Forecasting 9

Forecasting Prophets 10

Making a Forecast 11

Take what is happening now 13

 And add a little future 14

“We Interrupt This Program ” 16

Water, Water, Everywhere 18

Flavors of Forecasts 18

Agricultural forecasts 19

Aviation forecasts 19

Marine forecasts 20

River forecasts 20

Fire forecasts 21

Keywords to the Wise 21

Precipitation 21

Temperature 23

Temperature’s relative humidity 24

Heat index 25

Wind 27

Wind chill 28

Sky cover 28

Tools of the Trade 29

The instruments 29

The instrument carriers 30

Doppler radar 32

A fleet of satellites 33

Computers 35

How to Read a Weather Map 36

Chapter 2: Behind the Air Wars 37

I Don’t Like Your Latitude! 37

Where the Armies Mass 39

Winter air masses 41

Summer air masses 42

News from the Fronts 42

Cold fronts 43

Warm fronts 43

Stationary fronts 44

Occluded fronts 44

Here Comes the Sun 45

Moving Sun’s energy 45

Looking absolutely radiant! 46

A contagious convection 49

The Big Picture 50

Long live the revolution! 50

Spreading the beam 51

Tilting at the seasons 53

Spin of the day 55

Putting on Airs 56

Do I smell gas? 56

How high the sky? 59

Chapter 3: Land, Sea, and Precipitation: is This Any Way to Run a Planet? 61

Water’s Stirring Role 62

Ocean to atmosphere 64

Atmosphere to surface 65

Surface to ocean 66

Rain to Rime: Forms of Precipitation 67

Rain 68

Snow 69

Hail 70

Graupel (snow pellets) 70

Sleet (ice pellet) 71

Rime 71

Dew to Fog: Forms of Condensation 72

Dew 72

Frozen dew 72

Frost 73

Fog: A grounded cloud 73

Weather and the Land 75

A lopsided planet 75

Radiating hot and cold 75

Air’s roller-coaster ride 76

Weather and the Ocean 77

Part 2: Braving the Elements 79

Chapter 4: Blowing in the Winds 81

Taking the Pressure 82

A World of Wind and Pressure 83

That muggy Bermuda High 85

That cool Pacific High 85

The winter lows 87

Bending the Winds 87

Taking the pressure — it’s a gas 87

Here’s the rub — total friction 89

A perfectly straight curveball 91

The Winds Aloft 94

The Westerlies 94

The Jet Streams 96

Polar jet stream 96

Subtropical jet stream 97

Low-level jets 97

The Tradewinds 97

A Scattering of Winds 98

Coastal breezes 99

Valley and mountain breezes 99

Asian monsoon 99

Southwestern monsoon 101

Chinooks 101

Santa Anas 101

Haboobs 102

Chapter 5: Getting Cirrus 103

Making Clouds: The Heavy Lifting 104

Heating up 104

Crowd control 105

Frontal assaults 105

Over the top 105

A Question of Stability 108

Clouds by Class 109

High clouds 110

Middle clouds 113

Low clouds 115

Vertical clouds 118

Special clouds 119

Clouds of the stratosphere 122

Chapter 6: Climate is What You Expect; Weather is What You Get 125

Climate or Weather? 126

Climates of the World 126

What Makes Climates Different? 128

Climate and the Seasons 130

A climate of mystery 130

“It’s the ocean, stupid” 132

Pacific Body Parts 132

The Warm Pool 133

The Cold Tongue 134

El Niño, His Cool Sister, and Their Kissing Cousins 134

Is El Niño a bad boy? 135

The El Niño look 135

La Niña, the contrary sister 138

The La Niña look 139

Climate’s kissing cousins 140

Climates of the Past 141

Long warm ages 142

Short ice ages 143

Medieval warm period 143

Little ice age 145

A warming trend 146

Chapter 7: The Greatest Storms On Earth 147

Breeding Grounds 148

Mysteries 150

Birth of a Hurricane 151

Disturbance to depression 152

Storm to hurricane 152

Bad big weapons 153

Storm surge 153

Winds 154

Tornadoes 155

Flooding rainfall 155

Signals of the seasons 156

Cruise’n for a Bruise’n 159

Satellites 159

Aircraft 160

Radar 160

Computer models 160

Coming Ashore But Where? 161

The Big Picture 161

Tracking the track 162

In Harm’s Way 163

Barrier islands 164

Playing it safe 165

The overwarning problem 165

Hurricane Force 166

Part 3: Some Seasonable Explanations 169

Chapter 8: The Ways of Winter 171

Winter’s “Official” First Day 172

It’s a Temperature Thing 173

Coast to Coast 174

Storms of Winter 177

A storm is born 178

Working out the wrinkles 179

Catching the waves 182

Riding the conveyor belt 182

Where They Come From 184

Where They Go 185

Name That Storm 187

Alberta Clipper 187

Hatteras bomb 187

Colorado Low 187

Gulf Low 188

Chattanooga Choo-choo 188

Nor’easter 188

Pineapple Express 190

Siberian Express 190

Panhandle Hook 190

Texas Panhandler 191

Blue Norther 191

When the Flakes Fly 191

Blizzards 194

Ice Storms 196

Life and Limb 197

Cold weather exposure 198

Frostbite 198

Caught in a car 199

Chapter 9: Twists and Turns of Spring 201

When Has Spring Sprung? 202

Coast to Coast 203

Thunderstorms 204

How exactly “severe”? 206

Shapes and sizes 207

Supercell 212

Hail the Size of Hailstones 214

Flash Floods 215

ZAP! Crack! Bam! 216

Rumbles and claps 218

Different strokes 219

Lightning safety tips 219

Downbursts 220

Really Twisted Winds 222

Tornado Alley 224

Forecasting 226

Lives and Limbs 228

A watch or a warning? 230

Tornado do’s — and nots! 230

Chapter 10: Extremely Summer 233

Good Ol’ Summer Timing 234

Coast to Coast 235

Avoiding That Radiant Feeling 238

The Heat is On 239

Heatwaves 241

Stranded on crowded islands 243

Storms of Summer 244

Out of Whack 246

When It Rains Too Much 247

When It Rains Too Little 250

Chapter 11: Falling for Autumn 255

The Timing Thing 256

Falling Highs and Lows 256

Coast to Coast 257

In a Pigment’s Eye 258

Indian Summer 259

In the Fogs 260

Fires of the Wild West 261

Part 4: The Special Effects 263

Chapter 12: Taking Care of the Air 265

Polluting the Air 266

The short and long of it 267

The usual suspects 268

Getting the drift 270

Acid rain 270

The Hole in the Sky 272

The ozone-eaters 273

On the mend? 274

The Big Warm 275

On the natural 276

On the unnatural 278

The global warming picture 279

The global warming debate 280

The heat is on 281

A splash of cold water 282

Wild and crazy 282

Chapter 13: Up in the Sky! Look! 285

Seeing the Light 286

In Living Color 287

Why the Sky is Blue 287

Reflecting on Clouds 288

Silver Linings 289

Blue Haze 290

Sunbeams 290

Sunrise, Sunset 291

The Green Flash 293

Rainbows 293

Haloes 295

Sun Dogs 296

Sun Pillars 296

Coronas 297

Glories 298

Mirages 298

Inferior mirage 299

Superior mirage 299

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Air 299

Auroras 300

Chapter 14: Try This at Home 301

You’re Not Just an Amateur 301

Galileo and the Boys 302

Galileo’s thermometer 303

Torricelli’s barometer 303

Cardinal de Cusa’s hygrometer 304

Early American Weathermen 304

George did it 305

Tom did it 305

Ben did it all 306

Watching Your Weather 307

Getting Fancy 307

Going instrumental 308

Going digital 309

Cool Weather Experiments 310

Making rainbows 310

Bending light by refraction 310

Bending light by diffraction 312

Weighing in on air 312

Testing the pressure 313

The greenhouse effect 313

Cloud in a can 314

A bottle of fog 314

Part 5: The Part of Tens 315

Chapter 15: Ten (or So) Biggest U.S Weather Disasters of the 20th Century 317

The Galveston Hurricane 318

The Dust Bowl 318

Super Tornado Outbreak, 1974 319

Hurricane Camille 319

The Great Midwest Flood 320

El Niño Episodes 320

Hurricane Andrew, 1992 321

New England Hurricane, 1938 321

Superstorm, March 1993 321

Tri-State Tornado, 1925 322

Tornado Outbreak of May 1999 322

The Great Okeechobee Flood and Hurricane of 1928 323

Florida Keys Hurricane, 1935 323

New England Blizzard, 1978 323

Storm of the Century, 1950 324

Chapter 16: Ten (or So) Worst World Weather Disasters of the 20th Century 325

Droughts 326

India 326

China 326

Soviet Union 326

Africa 327

Floods 327

China 327

Vietnam 327

Iran 327

Typhoons, Cyclones, and Hurricanes 327

Bangladesh 328

China 328

Honduras 328

Japan 328

Philippines 329

Winter Storms 329

Iran 329

Europe 329

Pollution 329

Donora 329

London 330

Chapter 17: Ten Crafty Critters 331

Cats 332

Dogs 332

Frogs 333

Ants 333

Birds 333

Caterpillars 334

Squirrels 334

Groundhog 335

Livestock 335

Fish 336

Chapter 18: Ten Grand Old Weather Proverbs 337

Red Sky at Night, Sailor’s Delight 338

Clear Moon, Frost Soon 338

Early Thunder, Early Spring 338

After Frost, Warm 339

Mare’s Tails and Mackerel Scales 339

Rainbow in the Morning 339

When Halo Rings the Moon 340

Rain Long Foretold 340

A Year of Snow, a Year of Plenty 340

In Like a Lion and Out Like a Lamb 341

Appendix: Internet Resource Directory 343

Index 351

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