Weather Changes - A Lot Of Factors Involved

By: Ken Morris


Lessons To Learn From Weather Observation

Weather changes that we experience on earth are the result of a complex set of factors involving the sun, the earth's atmosphere and other influences. The atmosphere that sustains plant and animal life on earth is a primary factor in the extraordinary range of weather conditions seen and felt around the world.

For most, the details of how weather patterns form is less important than whether the factors lead to rain, snow, heat, strong winds or other conditions. Those who are not professionals in the weather-watching industry rely on those who are professional. These specialists have benefited, in recent years, from the introduction of specialized instruments and computer modeling that help track storms and predict weather conditions. In addition, amateurs have access to high-quality instruments and information that puts them nearer to the status of a meteorologist or other weather/climate professional.

Clouds are a major climate structure that professionals and amateurs alike watch every day, a key part of weather observation. Being able to identify different types of clouds and follow their movements can go a long way toward making an educated guess about upcoming weather. Clouds not only have very distinct forms but also occupy various levels in the atmosphere. It's a safe bet that, with low clouds some sort of precipitation will arrive in the near future. This feature separates the contribution of low clouds from those seen at the middle and higher levels.

Cumulus clouds, generally, signify fair weather in an atmosphere that is stable. Cloud watchers know not to expect precipitation. But when these same clouds gather quickly, this may be a signal that thunderstorms will soon arrive, bringing strong winds and rain.

Observation of such items as the direction of wind and the barometric pressure also aids in predicting and preparing for changing weather conditions. For example, almost everyone knows that when barometric pressure falls there is an increased chance of precipitation. For those north of the equator, the prevailing winds are from the southwest, bringing whatever conditions are forming in the western and southwestern states. It is interesting to note that winds can blow in a direction opposite that of storm movement, since huge thunderstorms can affect large masses of air.

One of the more interesting features of the earth's fascinating weather is the color that appears with sunrise, sunset and various cloud formations. A simply explanation might be that the impact of sunlight on particles suspended in the air cause light waves to travel in many different directions. The differences in color are essentially the result of different lengths of the light waves, with the shorter waves producing violets and blues. Colors in the orange and red area have longer wavelengths. Some of the shading in color is due to the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. For example, clouds appear white because the water droplets that make them tend to scatter all spectrum colors. Thickness due to heavy water concentration makes the clouds appear darker, even gray, dark blue or black. While it may take a lifetime to understand even a part of our fascinating weather, a few interesting facts explain a lot.

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Ken Morris continually makes web pages on ideas associated to temperature. His publications on alicante weather can be found on his site .

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