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The Effects Of Deforestation And Other Human Activities On Local Weather

The Effects Of Deforestation And Other Human Activities On Local Weather

Changes in weather patterns and climate do not only take place on a global scale. We are experiencing drastic changes in our local weather as well. And specific human activities are partly responsible for it. 

Local weather sometimes deviates from the regional weather forecast. It often happens due to natural local variables, like topography, nearby bodies of water, and specific weather conditions. (You may live in a valley near a lake with winds funneling through the ravine.)    

Sometimes, though, large-scale human activities in an area can have a significant effect on local weather patterns and even have a permanent impact on its climate. It is these activities that will be the be focusing of this article.

  1. 1
    Deforestation
  2. 2
    Urban And Metropolitan Development
  3. 3
    Carbon Dioxide And Other Greenhouse Gases Emissions
  4. 4
    Agriculture

First, though, local weather can mean different things to different people, so it is essential to get a clear idea of what precisely it means when we talk about local weather.

What Is Local Weather

Local Weather

Local weather can be defined as the atmospheric conditions within a relatively small geographical area at any specific time. It includes weather variables such as temperature, wind, cloud formation, rainfall, and atmospheric pressure.

Such an area may include a city zone, a small town, or even a suburb.

The Human Activities That Influence Local Weather

Before we can examine the way in which human activities influence the weather, we first need to identify the specific actions that have a strong enough impact on the atmosphere to cause significant changes to weather conditions.

Each of the activities below causes changes to different aspects of the weather and with varying degrees of strength. Some human actions can combine to have a compound effect on the atmospheric conditions.

Below, you will find a list of the human activities identified to have some of the most significant impacts on local climate:

  1. Deforestation
  2. Urban And Metropolitan Development
  3. Carbon Dioxide And Other Greenhouse Gases Emissions
  4. Agriculture

These four actions are by now means the only human activities that influence the atmosphere and weather patterns. They are, however, the actions that have the most important and notable impact on local weather.

The Way In Which Specific Human Activities Influence Local Weather

Now that the most most significant human contributions to local weather change have been identified, one needs to take a closer look at each of these human activities to see the way in which they impact weather conditions.   

1) Effects Of Deforestation

It is a well-known fact that for any rainfall to take place anywhere in the world, a substantial amount of moisture must be present in the air. The trees and plants in a forest provide a large portion of this essential moisture needed for condensation and cloud formation. 

Although winds can take the humid air far away from the source of evaporation to cause precipitation in a completely different location, in many instances, rainfall takes place close to regions from where the humid air originated. The Tropical Rainforests are one such case.

The leaves from trees and plants provide a canopy to keep the soil moist, which is a major source of water for evaporation. Through a process called transpiration, the leaves of the vegetation also release additional moisture into the atmosphere.

What Is Deforestation?

Deforestation

Deforestation is the permanent large-scale removal of vegetation, specifically trees and plants, to make space for urban development, road construction, or agricultural fields.

Across the world, especially in developing countries rich in vegetation, deforestation is taking place at an alarming rate. This practice destroys the ability of the land to provide the necessary moisture for precipitation to take place.

When deforestation takes place in a specific location and a large percentage of the local vegetation is permanently removed, it will have a profound impact on local rainfall. It may not be notable at first, but over time, the area will experience a drop in precipitation.

2) Urban And Metropolitan Development

The development of metropolitan and large urban areas inevitably means the construction of concrete buildings, pavements, and asphalt roads. These structures fundamentally change the atmospheric conditions of the atmosphere, especially influencing temperatures.

Urban And Metropolitan Development

The dark colors of the buildings and roads allow the heat from the sun to be absorbed, and their structural make-up enables them to retain the heat for sustained periods. The result is a buildup of heat in and around a city and densely populated urban environments.

The heat produced by transportation, a lack of vegetation, as well as the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere all contributes to higher temperatures throughout the city.

The presence of tall buildings also inhibits airflow through the area (a phenomenon called the Urban Canyon Effect), which further contributes to the heat buildup.

The combination of all the above-mentioned factors creates a microclimate known as The Urban Heat Island. To find out more, you can read the whole in-depth article about The Urban Heat Island, how it is formed, and its effects in this article

3) Effects Of Carbon Dioxide And Other Greenhouse Gases

In the previous section, we already briefly touched on the issue of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. In urban environments, emissions from cars, buses, and industries result in more concentrated levels of carbon dioxide in the air compared to rural regions.

Smog

They are called greenhouse gases since they act as a real greenhouse, preventing heat from escaping and trapping it in the atmosphere below. Although these gases usually disperse and build up in the upper atmosphere, they can affect local conditions as well.

When the carbon dioxide gases hit a temperature inversion layer above a populated area, it traps the heat and gases within it. This leads to a buildup of heat and smog that is not only harmful to the environment but causes a health risk to humans as well.

You can find out what temperature inversion is, how it works, as well as its impact on the environment in this article.  

4) Agriculture

In most cases, conversations revolve around how the weather and climate impact agriculture, not the other way around. There is at least one case, however, where agriculture has a direct influence on the weather, especially local weather.

Large crop fields contain huge quantities of moisture, not just in the crops themselves but also in the soil they are planted in. On warm days, a substantial amount of moisture get's released into the air through a combination of evaporation and transpiration.

The amount of moisture in the air on a warm day leads to extremely hot and humid conditions. This can make daily activities very uncomfortable for people living in the area.

Conclusion

As you can clearly see, human activities do not just impact global climate and weather patterns, but local weather as well. If you live in an area that recently introduced any of these activities, you may want to keep your eye on your weather station if you have one.

If you were ever wondering why you would ever need a home weather station, here is one of many reasons. (If you want to find out more, you can read more about home weather stations in this article.)

Even if you don't own one, by simply staying aware of atmospheric conditions around you, you should be able to start experiencing changes in weather. Its severity will depend on the amount and size of any disruptive activity.

Never miss out again when another interesting and helpful article is released and stay updated, while also receiving helpful tips & information by simply  clicking on this link .

Until next time, keep your eye on the weather!

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What The Weather Is Like In A Coastal Region & Why It Has A Moderate Climate

What The-Weather Is Like In A Coastal Region And Why It Has A Moderate Climate

Whether you live on the coast or consider or just visiting it, the weather is always an important factor. And as this article will illustrate, coastal weather differ substantially from its neighboring regions.

Coastal regions are characterized by mild or moderate weather conditions, as they experience warmer winters and cooler summers than regions situated further inland. This is a result of ocean temperatures taking longer to warm up during summer and cool down during winter than the adjacent landmass.

Coastal regions have their unique climate, with weather patterns that are typical of cities and towns around the world where land meets the sea. 

Not all coastal regions are the same, though. The Maldives near the Equator has a vastly different climate than the Lofoten Islands in Norway near the Arctic Circle.

The coastal regions we will be focusing on are all located in more temperate climate zones where the vast majority of the world's coastal population is concentrated.

You might have noticed that the terms climate and weather have already been used several times in just the first few sentences of this article. These two terms remain confusing or misunderstood by many readers, so it is important to clarify them before continuing:

The Difference Between Climate And Weather

Difference Between Weather And Climate

Although they both focus on atmosphere conditions, the biggest difference between climate and weather can be summed in one word: Time!

Climate is the weather patterns and averages of a region established over a sustained period, usually 30 years or more. Weather, though, is the actual atmospheric conditions of a location you experience hour by hour and day by day.

This short explanation will help to clear up any remaining confusion about how these two similar but different terminologies relate to each other. If you are still unsure, you can get more in-depth information on the difference between weather and climate in this article.

We can now turn our attention to the climate of a coastal area and the associated weather conditions you are likely to experience. Before delving into the characteristics of its climate, it is important to make sure there is a clear understanding of what a coastal region is.   

What Is A Coastal Region?

The name, coastal region (also known as a coastal zone), can be a bit vague for some, as it does not pinpoint a specific location and are mostly a transitional area. To best understand what a coastal region is, the following definition will help to clarify this term.

Coastal Region

A coastal region refers to the border or transitional area where land meets the ocean. This area includes locations on the coast itself, but also areas marginally further inland which experience weather still directly influenced by the sea.

Some definitions include the borders between land and large inland lakes, but to clearly define a Coastal Climate, our focus will remain on the boundary between land and ocean. (The varying sizes of inland bodies of water may negate the effect of actual coastal weather.)

The Climate Of A Coastal Region

The climate of a coastal region is characterized by several weather conditions, which combine to form atmospheric conditions that are unique to areas in and around the coast.

The best way to describe a Coastal Climate is to first list the various weather conditions that define it and then look at each one in more detail. The primary weather conditions that are associated with a coastal region are:

  1. Sea Breeze During The Day
  2. Land Breeze In The Evenings
  3. Moderate Climate Throughout The Year
  4. Coastal Fog
  5. Higher Rainfall Than Inland Areas

These characteristics are typical weather conditions you will find at the coast in temperate clime zones. There are obvious exceptions to the rules, especially in regions situated at higher latitudes and closer to the Tropics.

Coastal regions where a desert meets the ocean can also have a vastly different climate. For example, The Skeleton Coast in the Namid Desert, and the Atacama Desert in Chile are some of the driest regions in the world. These are exceptions to the rule, though.

1) Sea Breeze During The Day

A sea breeze, much like the majority of weather conditions experienced at the coast, is the result of the contrasting way in which the land and ocean react to changes in temperature.

During the day, both the land and ocean warm up, but the land warms up much faster than the ocean water. As you will soon discover, it is important to note that even though the ocean takes longer to warm up, it is also able to retain the heat much longer than the land.

As the land warms up,  it heats the air at the surface. The warm air rises and expands, which leaves less air at the surface, creating a low-pressure system over land. Since water over the ocean takes longer to warm up, it allows the air above it to maintain a higher pressure. 

Since air always flows from a high-pressure to a low-pressure system, the air from the ocean flows to the land. This forms the sea breeze we are so familiar with, which usually occurs during the afternoons and early evenings. 

Depending on the contrast in temperature between land and sea, the wind blowing from the ocean may vary from a light breeze to relatively strong gusty wind. 

2) Land Breeze In The Evenings

During the evening, the opposite occurs. The land cools off much faster than the ocean, which retains the heat absorbed during the day much longer. (The reason why I highlighted this ability of the ocean in the previous section.)  

As a result, the colder air over land forms a high-pressure system, while the warm air over the ocean water rises and creates a low-pressure system. 

The wind now blows from the high-pressure area over land to the low-pressure area over the sea. This is how a land breeze is formed, which usually occurs late in the evening and the early hours of the morning.

To find out how high and low-pressure systems are formed and how they influence the weather, you can read more about it in this article.

3) Moderate Climate Throughout The Year

The fact that the ocean takes much longer to warm up than land, and its ability to retain heat much longer than as well, do not just play a role in the creation of land and sea breezes but are also responsible for the moderate climate of coastal regions.

During the summer season, the air temperature over land warms up fairly quickly, while the ocean remains relatively cold since it takes longer to absorb the heat. During the winter months, the land cools down faster than the ocean, which is able to retain its heat longer.

This results in cooler air moving in from the ocean during the summer and warmer air over the sea that is blown inland during the winter months. This creates a more moderate climate where the summers are cooler and the winters milder than inland regions.

Please note that the moderate climate of a coastal region is in relation to the inland area of a landmass they are part of. The climate of a coastal region in one part of the world can be much colder or warmer than one in another part, especially at different latitudes.    

4) Coastal Fog

Fog often occurs at the coast, especially during the spring and summer. It is not always formed in the same way everywhere, but in most cases, it is as a result of the process described below. 

Coastal Fog

This type of fog usually occurs when moist warm air comes in contact with the cold water at the surface of the ocean. As the air temperature drops to below dew point, condensation takes place, and fog forms over the water.

Very often, prevailing winds (like sea breezes) can carry fog inland and create hazardous conditions for motorists. On sunny days, the fog tends to "burn way" as the day progresses. 

As I said, there are different conditions responsible for creating fog on the coast. For example, San Francisco is notorious for its cold foggy weather. In the summer, Northern California can very hot, creating low-pressure systems over land.

Since San Francisco is surrounded by water on three sides, the moist & cold high-pressure air from the sea can quickly move into this low-pressure area over land, creating the dense fog the city is so famous for.

5) Higher Rainfall Than Inland Areas

Coastal regions normally have higher average rainfall than inland areas. It may seem obvious since a large body of water and moisture is present at the coast. It is not always that simple, as moist warm air must cool down sufficiently to condensate and form precipitation.

Two factors help this process along.

  • Cold Land Temperatures
  • Mountainous Terrain

During the winter, the land cools off and reaches lower temperatures than during the summer. This allows the air above it to cool down more as well. When the moist air from the sea comes in contact with the cold air over land, condensation will take place much easier.

Very often, the coast is next to mountainous terrain. As the moist air from the ocean starts to rise against the mountain, it starts cooling down. When it reaches dewpoint, condensation takes place, and rain falls on the coastal side of the mountain.

This scenario often leads to areas with high rainfall on the windward side and dry, warm weather on the leeward side of a mountain near the coast. The Chinook Winds in North America are a perfect example of this phenomenon. It is perfectly explained in this article.

The Northwestern coast of the United States with the Rocky Mountains to its east and the KwaZulu Natal coast with the Drakensberg Mountain Range to its west in South Africa are two well-known examples that come to mind.

Conclusion

The coastal regions we are familiar with in temperate climates have some very unique weather conditions that will be familiar to anyone living in or have frequently visited coastal town and cities. 

Simply by looking at the characteristics of the different weather conditions, you will be able to see what a big influence the ocean has on almost every aspect of the climate.

If you were unsure before, you would have a good understanding by now of what to expect from the weather in a coastal region and why you will find certain atmospheric conditions that are so unique to these areas.

Never miss out again when another interesting and helpful article is released and stay updated, while also receiving helpful tips & information by simply  clicking on this link .

Until next time, keep your eye on the weather!

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What Causes Weather To Change, Change So Quickly, And Can It Be Predicted?

What Causes Weather To Change Change So Quickly And Can It Be Predicted.

We all get upset with weather forecasters when they "get it wrong," and our plans are completely ruined. A "sunny weekend" at the beach is spent staring at the pouring rain through your cabin window.

But if you are honest with yourself, depending on where you live, you may already be well aware of how often and quickly the weather can change.  

This still leaves us with a few questions:

  • What causes the weather to changes?
  • Why does the weather change so quickly?
  • How quickly can a weather forecast change?

The best way to answer these questions is to start at the beginning and first identify why weather change takes place in the first place and what factors are involved. We can then examine why it can change so quickly and whether these changes can be predicted.

What Causes Weather To Change?

Weather Change

Changes in weather are primarily the result of a change in temperature, air pressure, and humidity in the atmosphere. When any of these three variables experience a substantial change, it can lead to a complete change in weather conditions.

Other variables also play a part in weather formation, but when existing atmospheric conditions change, these three factors have the biggest influence.

For example, a sudden drop or rise in temperature can cause a significant contrast in the air pressure of neighboring air masses, which can result in strong and gusty winds. (As air always flows from an area of high to an area of low pressure.)

Also, when the atmospheric pressure changes into a high-pressure system, it can lead to clear and sunny skies. On the other hand, when air pressure drops and turns into a persistent low-pressure system, it can lead to heavy cloud formation and precipitation.

You can read more about how air pressure works, how it is formed, and the different types of weather created as a result in this article.

Now that the causes of weather changes have been identified, it is still not clear why these changes can occur so quickly in some areas. 

Why Does The Weather Change So Quickly?

There are literally dozens of reasons why you may be experiencing unpredictable and fast-changing weather in your area. However, three factors have been identified that always contribute to erratic atmospheric conditions:

  1. Situated in a temperate climate zone.
  2. Located in a coastal region.
  3. A flat topography characterizes the region.

All three factors can cause erratic fast-changing weather separately, and to better understand how we need to look at each one individually.

1) Temperate Climate Zone

Of the three major climate zones, the temperate zone is caught between the warm weather from the Tropics and cold weather from the polar regions.

Depending on the strength of a weather system, cold air from the polar region will move into a temperate region, causing temperatures to plummet. It can just as quickly be forced to retreat when a stronger weather system from the tropics moves into the same area. 

As a result, it is possible for a region to experience freezing and stormy weather at one moment, only to be replaced by warm and clear weather a few hours (or a day) later.

A few cities across the world-famous for their unpredictable weather, are situated in temperate climate zones. They include Denver (Colorado), Birmingham (England), and Chicago (Illinois). 

2) Coastal Region

Coastal Region

When you live in a coastal region, the prevailing winds play a huge part in changes to the weather. The land and sea heat up and cool down at different speeds, causing a difference in temperature to develop quickly. (Land warms up and cools down faster than the ocean.)

Depending on the strength of the difference in air pressure, the result is a strong sea breeze during late afternoons and evenings or a land breeze during the night and early mornings.

These regions not only experience constantly changing winds, but also the accompanying weather systems they blow into the area from either inland or over the ocean. This combination makes the weather conditions in a coastal region even more unpredictable.

3) Flat Topography

The role of topography in the formation and behavior of weather is often underestimated. It can be responsible for the presence (or lack) of certain weather conditions, as well as influence the speed and duration of a weather system.    

It is the latter that comes into play when it comes to rapid-changing unpredictable weather. Where a mountainous terrain may slow down or even allow weather conditions to die down, a flat terrain allows weather systems to pass through freely and uninhibited.

As a result of the fast-moving weather, the cold front you are experiencing right now can be replaced by a warm front and clear skies in a matter of hours. You may even be confronted by a completely different set of weather conditions by the end of the day. 

In a region with flat topography, especially in temperate climate zones, it is only the speed of the winds that drive the weather that will determine just how erratic the weather will be. 


Even though any of these locations can promote unpredictable fast-changing weather, some regions are exposed to all three of them, creating the ideal recipe for some erratic behavior. Sydney and Melbourne in Australia are two perfect examples of such locations.

Can A Weather Forecast Predict Erratic Weather

The short answer to this question is both yes and know. The explanation, though, is a bit more complicated and depends on your definition of fast-changing unpredictable weather.

Weather Instruments

Weather services have become very accurate and able to adjust predictions to weather much more quickly over the years. This is mainly due to improved forecasting models, advanced sensing technologies like radar, and more computing power.

This means the weather can not only be predicted with more accuracy further into the future, but quicker and more precise updates allow forecasts to adjust to sudden changes in atmospheric conditions. There are limitations, though.

Forecasters can "catch" weather changes much quicker but are not yet able to detect every possible variable or unforeseen factor. It will be fair to say that a good weather service can make accurate and "adjusted" forecasts up to a maximum of roughly six hours.

(Weather doesn't like to be told what to do, so even this rough estimate may sometimes be completely wrong due to some unexpected intrusions.)

Also, take into consideration that there are "pockets" in a forecast region that are unique to your area. Even though the forecast for a location will be dead accurate, you may be located in a valley or behind a hill that causes you to experience very different conditions.

In summary, weather services are accurate and do compensate for weather changes. Unforeseen circumstances can still interfere, though, as well as your own location that may always experience different weather than anyone ten minutes drive away.

(The reason I use a home weather station to make sure I stay updated about the atmospheric conditions in my immediate surroundings. If you are interested, you can read more about the advantages of a home weather station here.)

Conclusion

This article highlighted the primary reasons to help one understand why weather changes and changes so quickly. You will also have a good idea of the extent to which these changes can be forecasted.

As you would have noticed, nothing is set in stone. The causes of weather changes vary, and we only know some of the factors influencing it. The same goes for weather forecasts. They can be dead accurate but still miss the mark due to some unforeseen last-minute gremlin. 

The only thing that is certain is that the weather will always be unpredictable, and no matter how good meteorologists get, they will always be playing catch-up. So next time you want to get angry about an inaccurate forecast, spare a thought for the meteorologist. 

Never miss out again when another interesting and helpful article is released and stay updated, while also receiving helpful tips & information by simply  clicking on this link .

Until next time, keep your eye on the weather!

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What Is The Weather Like In A “Desert Climate”, And Why You Should Care

What Is The Weather Like In A Desert Climate And Why You Should Care

Global temperatures have been rising steadily since the end of the 19th Century, and with it, the size and number of deserts. As a result, the term "Desert Climate" has been receiving a lot more attention.

Desert Climate refers to the average atmospheric conditions in arid and semi-arid regions with little to no rainfall. It results from evaporation exceeding the amount of precipitation over extended periods. A region is classified as a desert when its annual rainfall is less than 25cm (9.8 inches).

One will be forgiven to think of a desert as a very hot and dry region, with no or very little weather activity. For the most part, you will be right. If you don't live in an arid area, you won't even consider the fact that it may impact you in any way.

But you are probably not seeing the whole picture. There is a reason why "desert climate" and "desertification" are terms more frequently used. And there is also a good reason why you should care. 

This article explains what a "desert climate" is, the weather associated with it, and how this phenomenon is growing and may affect you. 

An arid region is officially classified as a desert when it receives less than 25 centimeters (9.8 inches) of rain per year. The lack of moisture is the primary cause of why so little weather activity takes place and can be observed in a desert.

As you will soon find out, though, not all deserts conform to this conventional view you have of a typical desert. Neither does the weather always remain warm and dry, as you would expect in a desert.

There are two types of desert climate, and we need to take a closer look at each one to understand the extent to which deserts, and the weather associated with them, can differ:

1) Hot Desert Climate

Location

Deserts with hot climates can typically be found in the world's subtropical regions (between 30° North and 30° South). The world's biggest hot desert, the Sahara, can be found in Africa. Other examples include the Arabian Desert, Arizona Desert, and the Great Victoria Desert.

Weather

To be classified as having a hot desert climate, an arid region must have a minimum annual temperature of at least 18° Celsius (64° Fahrenheit) and an annual rainfall of no more than 200 millimeters (7.9 inches).

Hot Desert Climate

The weather in a hot desert climate is, needless to say, very hot and dry. During summer months, average temperatures of above 30° Celsius are common, with many days exceeding 40° Celsius. Winter months are colder, but temperatures remain high.

A hot desert climate is also characterized by contrasting weather. This is evident in the stark difference between day and night temperatures. Warm days can quickly turn into cold evenings as soon as the sun goes down.

During winter months, it is not uncommon to experience a relatively warm day, while temperatures can drop to freezing point in the evening.

The low rainfall is largely due to the region's geology, marked by rocky and sandy terrain with sparse vegetation. This results in little moisture that can evaporate to form rainfall. High temperatures can also cause raindrops to evaporate before reaching the ground.

2) Cold Desert Climate

Location

Deserts with cold climates can usually be found at much higher altitudes than arid regions with hot desert climates. Hard to believe, but Antarctica is considered to be the coldest desert in the world due to the interior's average annual precipitation of less than 51 millimeters.

They can also be found in temperate zones, often on the leeward side of high mountains. The Gobi Desert in Mongolia is an example of such a desert. Other regions with cold desert climates include the Karagiye Depression, Patagonian Desert, and the Great Basin Desert.

Weather

To be classified as having a cold desert climate, an arid region must have a maximum annual temperature of 18° Celsius (64° Fahrenheit) or below and a yearly rainfall of no more than 200 millimeters (7.9 inches).

Gobi Desert

As the name suggests, the weather in a cold desert climate is cold and dry. It is characterized by relatively warm summers but also very cold winters, unlike areas experiencing hot desert climates. (Although even the summers may be cold).

It also differs from a warm weather climate in the way precipitation takes place. The little precipitation that does occur is usually in the form of snow, not rain. (Especially in areas where the average annual temperature is below freezing point). 

The Worrying Trend Of Desertification And Why You Should Care

It will be clear by now that regions with a desert climate experience harsh weather conditions and a very inhospitable environment. This makes it very difficult, even impossible, to use it for creating urban environments, as well as utilizing it for agriculture.

And this is the growing problem we are facing with desertification. But first, we need to know what desertification is.

What Is Desertification?

drought

Desertification is the process through which fertile and habitable land is turned into a desert as a result of a loss of water, both on the surface and in the ground. The lack of water is closely followed by a loss of vegetation and wildlife. It is mainly a result of human activity.

Some of the leading causes include activities such as deforestation, the overuse of fertile soil, and other forms of overexploitation. Climate change (mainly due to global warming) is considered to be one of the leading causes.

Without getting into a debate about climate change, the fact that the earth is warming up at a rapid rate, and so is desertification as a result of it, is a worrying trend with potentially serious consequences. And this is why you should care, as the next session will illustrate.

The Serious Consequences Of Desertification

As stated before, the process of desertification is mostly a result of human activity. Natural changes in climate that occur over thousands of years that turn regions into deserts, rainforests, or swampland are normal. What we are experiencing with desertification is not.

Land degradation (the deterioration of land to the point where it becomes worthless for any human use) is a consequence of desertification. According to National Geographic, 75% of the world's land is already degraded. 

At the current rate at which desertification is taking place, the European Commission's World Atlas of Desertification estimates that more than 90 percent of global land may become degraded by 2050.

The consequences will be devastating, not just for the agricultural sector but for every human being on the planet. 

The following is list is highlighting just some of the direct and indirect consequences and impact of desertification:

  1. A dramatic decrease in available and viable land for agriculture.
  2. A steep rise in food prices is a result of a scarcity in produce.
  3. Urban areas in semi-arid region will be confronted by increasing water shortages.
  4. Affected urban locations and metropolises will experience extreme weather, making living conditions much harder and influencing quality of life.
  5. The above-mentioned conditions will only worsen the effects of the urban phenomenon, called The Urban Heat Island. You can read more about this occurrence here.
  6. Without vegetation that acts as a natural barrier that slows down and limits the extent of flooding, large parts of land are now more vulnerable to large-scale flooding.
  7. As more people move away from arid areas to locations with more favorable living conditions, overpopulation becomes a real danger. 

Conclusion

Unfortunately, the growth of existing deserts and the emergence of new ones is a reality. So is the far-reaching consequence which will affect every one of us.

The goal of this article was not to spread paranoia. Its simple aim is to explain the growing climate pattern, known as Desert Climate, what it is, and why it is important. It also explains how it relates to desertification and help you realize how it affects all of us in the long term.

Never miss out again when another interesting and helpful article is released and stay updated, while also receiving helpful tips & information by simply  clicking on this link .

Until next time, keep your eye on the weather!

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What Is A Barometer And How Does It Work?

What Is A Barometer And How It Works

Weather stations have several instruments that measure atmospheric conditions, with a barometer being one of them. We examine what a barometer is and the role it plays in determining weather conditions.

A barometer is a meteorological instrument that measures the atmospheric air pressure of the environment. It is a crucial part of a weather station and is primarily used with other sensors to determine current and future weather conditions. It is also used in aviation to measure altitude.

Barometers have been around for centuries and are used on their own or as part of a larger system. But whether they come on their own or form part of a complex weather station, they play a crucial role in almost all weather-related conditions and occurrences.

This post examines what exactly a barometer is, the different types of barometers, and detail how each one works.

Barometers have evolved through the centuries and come in all shapes and sizes. It is also used in more industries than just the weather and climate sectors. However, it still predominantly remains a meteorological instrument.

You might be wondering why a barometer is such a vital part of any weather measuring device. You can see a detailed explanation of how atmospheric pressure influences the weather in this article.  

A Quick History Of Barometers

Evangelista Torricelli

Evangelista Torricelli

In early 1631, French designer René Descartes described the design of a trial to measure air pressure. Since no evidence of an actual experiment could be found, Evangelista Torricelli is widely acknowledged as the inventor of the barometer in 1643.

Torricelli was the first scientist who concluded that the air in the atmosphere had weight and exerted pressure on objects below it. This argument was not supported and believed by most of his peers, including Galileo.

Torricelli continued to work in secret due to the politics and beliefs of the time. He realized he needed a liquid heavier than water to conduct his experiment. As a result, he successfully used mercury and became known as the inventor of the mercury thermometer.

Blaise Pascal became aware of Torricelli's design, and over time, went on to test and perfect Torricelli's design.

The Different types of barometers

As stated in the introduction, a barometer is a meteorological instrument that measures the atmospheric pressure of air in the environment. It is a crucial part of a weather station and is primarily used in combination with other instruments to determine current and future weather conditions. It is also used to measure altitude

Before looking at how they work, the different types of barometers first need to be identified. Since each barometer functions in a different way, it will then be possible to look at each one separately and describe how it works.

Barometers can be divided into four main types. Each one will be briefly described, and in the next section, we will look at how each one works.

1) Mercury Barometer

Invented by Evangelista Torricelli in 1643, as discussed in the previous section, the mercury barometer is one of the earliest barometers ever designed.

It uses an open flat pan and a sealed vertical glass tube filled with mercury to measure changes in air temperature. 

2) Water Barometer

The water barometer we are familiar with today is better known as a weather ball barometer. It was invented by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, which is why it is also called the "Goethe Barometer."

This simple device consists of a sealed glass container with a long narrow open spout connected to it. It is partially filled with water.

3) Aneroid Barometer

The aneroid barometer was invented in 1844 by Lucien Vidi, a French physicist. (He was also responsible for developing the barograph.)

It consists of a sealed metal box. One or a series of these chambers are connected to spring, which drives different forms of measuring indicators.

4) Digital Barometer

These electronic devices are widely used in modern homes and professional weather stations, as well as various modern appliances.

It consists of a detection cell that is sensitive and responds to air pressure.

Just remember, a barometer is just one small part of a weather station, which consists of a number of sensors measuring the different weather components. To find out what a weather station measures, and the sensors they use, read the following detailed article.

The 4 instruments just discussed are the most common and relevant types of barometers. (There are other types of barometers, but the ones mentioned are the most significant.) Now that the most relevant devices were identified, we can examine how each one works.  

How Does A Barometer Work?

All barometers are designed to measure atmospheric pressure. However, each one use a different method of measuring, and also use unique components in its design.

1) How A Mercury Barometer Works

A mercury barometer (also known as a Torricellian barometer) consists of an open flat container filled with mercury. A glass tube with one end sealed is placed in the center of the container. The open end is positioned at the bottom inside the mercury.

Mercury Barometer

As the air temperature increases, it pushes down on the mercury inside the container, forcing the mercury in the glass tube to rise. When the air temperature drops, the opposite happens, and as the downward pressure decreases, the mercury in the tube drops as well.

The glass tube is calibrated and has measurement marks on its side to accurately record pressure readings. 

2) How A Water Barometer (Weather Ball Barometer) Works

The weather ball thermometer consists of a sealed glass container. A long narrow spout with an open end is connected to its side of the container. It is normally shaped to curve up and around the side of the bowl.

Goethe Barometer

The glass container is partially filled with water-based liquid. As air pressure increases, it pushes the water in the spout down. When air pressure decreases, less weight is put on the water, and the liquid in the spout rises.

Some sealed glass barometers have measurement markings on the glass container. The simple reason for this is that the water in the bowl rises as it is pushed down in the spout and lowers as the water in the spout rises.

A properly calibrated container with measurement markings helps to make a more accurate and consistent recording of the air pressure. 

3) How Aneroid Barometer Works

An aneroid barometer consists of one or more sealed metal capsules. The sealed container connects to a spring under tension. In turn, the spring is directly or indirectly connected to a series of mechanical levers. The levers drive the barometer's needle (or similar indicator).

Aneroid Barometers

As air pressure increases, more for force is put on the metal container and causes it to contract. This leads to a change in the tension of the spring, which directly affects the mechanic levers. This change is reflected by the needle on the display of the barometer.

The opposite occurs when the air pressure decreases and allows the metal container to expand. The change is again reflected as the needle moves in the appropriate direction on the display face.

The round aneroid barometer (similar in appearance to a clock) remains one of the most widely used and most recognizable barometers. It is still popular with home weather enthusiasts and used by many professional weather services.

4) How A Digital Barometer Works

A digital (or electronic) barometer makes use of a detection cell to measure the air temperature. This cell is sensitive to atmospheric pressure, which influences its capacity to conduct/relay electricity.

Digital Barometer

The changing capacity impacts the strength of the electrical current flowing through it, which is measured to calculate the air pressure. Detection cells are small and versatile and can be integrated into a variety of devices for various purposes.

Most home weather stations use them, and they can even be found in a number of smartphones.

Where To place A Barometer

A barometer is designed to be placed indoors or outdoors, depending on your needs.

When placing your barometer, it is important to keep the following in mind: 

  1. Always place a barometer in a shaded area. 
  2. Do not place it close to any source of heat.
  3. Avoid areas that experience wind or drafts.
  4. Use a stable surface to place it on or against to avoid knocks and bumps.

Conclusion

As you would have gathered by now, barometers came a long way since Evangelista Torricelli invented the first one in 1643. They come in all shapes and sizes, have different characteristics, and operate in different ways.

This article defined what a barometer is, focused on the four major types of barometers, how they work, and where to place them.

Never miss out again when another interesting and helpful article is released and stay updated, while also receiving helpful tips & information by simply  clicking on this link .

Until next time, keep your eye on the weather!

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Can Renewable Energy From The Weather Replace Fossil Fuels?

Renewable Energy From The Weather Replace Fossil Fuels

For some time, renewable energy from the weather has been used to supplement conventional power sources. One of the current most hotly debated topics is whether it is capable of replacing fossil fuels.

Currently, renewable energy resources related to weather can support but not yet replace fossil fuels. Accounting for less than 20% of the total energy produced globally, it is not just a case of insufficient capacity but the inconsistent availability of renewable sources like solar and wind power.

Renewable weather sources like sunlight, wind, and hydroelectric energy have also been integrated into the national power grid of a number of countries. Many households have become self-sustained and independent from public energy utilities.

The Alternative & Renewable Energy Sector already resulted in the birth and growth of a number of related industries. For example, solar and wind farms are rapidly appearing worldwide in areas with the most favorable exposure to weather resources.     

wind turbine work

This also has the added benefit of the creation of a new job market as the sector continues to grow. People who specialize or have skills needed in this growing field will be in high demand. New doors will also open for jobs that have yet to be created for the young industry.

However, the big question most governments and industries are asking is whether weather-related renewable sources of energy can completely replace fossil fuels as our primary source of power.

We will delve into this question first. Then, we will look more closely at the different renewable sources of energy produced by the weather, their potential, as well as their biggest advantages and drawbacks.

This is not a quick and easy question to answer. So, the short and "simple" and answer first: 

Can Renewable Energy From The Weather Replace Fossil Fuels?

Currently, renewable energy resources related to weather can support but not yet replace fossil fuels. Accounting for less than 20% of the total energy produced globally, it is not just a case of insufficient capacity but the inconsistent availability of renewable sources like solar and wind power.

Yes, this is a very unsatisfactory and simplistic answer. But it is a very complicated question to a very complex issue, as you will soon find out. Several factors simply make it impossible to answer this question one way or the other definitively. 

The best way to explain why renewable energy sources can not completely replace fossil fuels, currently or in the near future, is by looking at the limitations and issues faced by the sector on a variety of fronts.     

Current Limitations And Issues Faced By Renewable Power Sources 

There are several financial and other issues prohibiting the implementation of renewable (alternative) power sources on a large scale and over a short period. These issues are also the reason why we currently can't stop the use of fossil fuels for energy generation. 

1) The Current Disproportional Spread Of Energy Sources 

As of 2018, only around 17.1% of the world's energy requirements are provided by sources of renewable energy. And these are all the sources of renewable power combined, including solar, wind, hydro, and wave energy.

On the other hand, fossil fuels and nuclear energy are currently meeting around 90% of the world's energy demands. Needless to say, the vast majority of the global population is still dependent on fossil fuels and other non-renewable power sources.

Especially with global politics and economics involved, it is not possible to replace traditional power sources with renewable ones over a short period. Even if everyone agreed and worked together, logistics and insufficient power capacity make this an impossible feat.  

2) Intermittent and Unreliable Power Supply

This argument is based on the fact that both solar and wind power are not consistently available, unpredictable, and as a result, unreliable.

The sun does not shine for half the day and is also influenced by factors such as cloud coverage, making it difficult to estimate the amount of energy solar energy can produce. 

Solar Unreliable Power

Similarly, wind power completely relies on the presence of wind. Even placing wind farms in areas experiencing prolonged periods of strong winds is no guarantee that wind will always be present at predetermined minimum speeds to produce the amount of energy required.

The storage of power through large battery cells and other forms of power storage may provide a possible solution. However, much more research on storage power has to be done before storing this amount of energy becomes a viable option.  

3) Substantial Space Requirements

Depending on where the renewable power sources are needed, this may be a big problem or no problem whatsoever. If you live in a large country with plenty of big open spaces, like deserts or mountainous regions experiencing favorable conditions, this not an issue at all.

It is in countries which are densely populated with almost no available open spaces where this becomes a real problem. You only need to look at pictures of solar and wind farms to get an idea of the sheer amount of space they utilize. 

To put everything into context, solar and wind farms require approximately 40-50 times the amount of space of one coal-powered station to generate the same amount of power.

In the case of a gas-powered station, the equivalent is a staggering 90-100 times more space required by solar and wind farms. 

This problem is not insurmountable, however. As solar technology keeps evolving, panels able to produce more power while using up less space will significantly reduce the problem.

Rooftop placement of solar panels is already used in domestic households and industries. Implementing it on a large scale will reduce the problem for countries with limited space.

The same applies to wind farms where the placement of wind turbines in farmlands or offshore, where it doesn't compete for space with other developments.  

4) Potential Vulnerability Of Renewable Infrastructure

Because it is deployed over such large areas and needs to be completely exposed to the weather elements to function optimally, renewable energy infrastructure is more prone to damage than traditional power stations.

Solar panels and wind turbines are designed to withstand harsh weather over long periods. This makes them durable enough to continue to operate nonstop over extended periods of time as intended, but they are infallible.

Renewable Energy Vulnerable Infrastructure

As extreme weather events continue to grow in size and frequency every year, these installations will be increasingly threatened. Damage or the destruction of a solar or wind farm can cause severe disruptions in the delivery of power to intended destinations.

Coal and gas-powered stations are more robustly built, and because they take a fraction of the space their renewable counterparts use, they are much less likely to be affected by severe weather. Skeptics of renewable power sources will be quick to point this fact out to you.

These are just a few of the uphill battles, that protagonist and governments who want to move towards alternative cleaner energy sources, have to fight every day.

Players involved in the Renewable Energy Sector are well aware of these issues. Since technological advances in this sector kicked into high gear over the last decade, equipment and infrastructure will continue to improve to address any issue at a rapid rate.

At this point, you may be wondering why there is such a hard push towards renewable energy, especially with all the issues and limitations it is facing. Well, I don't need to mention the effects of climate change. You are probably already well aware of its causes and effects.

If you live in a densely populated urban area or metropolis, it is already affecting and may be causing you some severe discomfort. If you want to find out how, as well as what the Urban Heat Island is, you can read the whole article here.   

The Different Sources Of Renewable Energy

There is clearly a number of difficulties and obstacles that the Renewable Energy Industry needs to address and overcome. 

It has, however, already developed and evolved into a much more efficient and reliable alternative energy source. In many countries, renewable energy has already been integrated into existing power grids, supplementing conventional power and boosting capacity.

This brings us to the different renewable energy sources provided by the weather, either directly or indirectly. We will look at each individual weather source, its potential, and some potential drawbacks and shortcomings...

1) Solar Power As A Renewable Energy Source

Solar Energy As Renewable Energy Source

Even though the widespread use of solar energy has already made it a familiar sight, it is sometimes not completely understood and needs to be more precisely defined. 

Solar energy is the heat and light which are emitted by the sun, captured, and then converted into different forms of energy. Heat and electricity are two of the primary forms of energy produced. 

As a result of being a renewable source of energy, sunlight can continue to provide energy without using up resources. It is also a clean source of power, meaning no emissions or byproducts are generated that can influence or cause any harm to the environment.

How Solar Energy Is Produced

The most common way of harnessing the power of the sun to produce electricity is through the use of solar panels. (Sunlight can also be used to produce heat, but the focus of this article is the use of renewable sources to generate power, which we will focus on.)  

Solar panels consist of several smaller photovoltaic cells. These cells can capture and convert sunlight into an electrical current. The current is relayed to an inverter, which converts the current from DC to AC, the form of electricity used by households and industry.

(DC stands for "Direct Current," while AC stands for "Alternating Power." AC power is the form of electricity used by all industries, businesses, and households throughout the world.)

At night, however, no sunlight is available, which means no power can be generated. This problem can be solved by using power from the national grid, but this means you still depend on external power sources. 

Renewable Power Battery Backup

Fortunately, battery technology made big advancements over the last few decades, which means excess solar power can be stored during the day. In the evening, the power stored in batteries can be used to power homes, making them completely self-sustained.

A large number of industries also already made the transition to solar power, employing the same process that is used in domestic homes, on a larger scale.

Using solar power to become self-sustained is still fairly expensive. As solar panels become more efficient, battery technology keeps improving, and solar energy is adopted on a larger scale, prices will be driven down, making it more affordable to the general population.

The potential of solar energy should be evident by now, which is why it is considered one of the primary and important sources of renewable power. Even though many advances have already been made, we only just started to tap into the full potential of solar energy.

Solar Energy Advantages And Disadvantages

In an earlier section, some of the problems faced by the solar energy industry have already been pointed out, but we also just had a look at a fraction of its potential. Simply put, solar energy has many advantages but just as many obstacles to overcome at the moment.

The following summary will help to highlight the main advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages
  1. Solar panels are long-lasting with no or little maintenance required.
  2. No greenhouse gases are emitted or waste material generated. 
  3. New job creation and opportunities in a fairly young industry.
  4. It has the potential to make us less dependent and eventually free from the use of fossil fuels.
Disadvantages
  1. Solar farms require and occupy large areas to generate enough energy.
  2. The building of components and installation of solar farms remain expensive.
  3. Solar energy availability is intermittent and unreliable due to the reliance on sunlight.   
  4. The carbon footprint of solar energy remains high due to the mining of raw materials, the production process, and the transport of components.

2) Wind Power As A Renewable Energy Source

Wind Power As Renewable Energy Source

Wind farms are becoming an increasing sight all over the world. But like, solar energy, there is some lack of understanding of wind power and needs to be more precisely defined. 

Wind power is the process by which mechanical energy, generated through kinetic energy, produces electrical power as a direct result of the flow of air (wind). 

Wind causes the rotor blades of a turbine it is blowing through to rotate, creating kinetic energy. These turbines are turning the generators, whose mechanical power is used to generate electrical power.  

How Wind Energy Is Produced

The short summary in the previous summer basically summed up the process through which wind power is generated. 

To get a better understanding, imagine the shape of a wind turbine's rotor blades to like that of a helicopter. This means the blade is shaped with one side providing less resistance to air movement than the other.

When the wind blows through the blades, the difference in wind resistance allows the turbine blades to rotate, and the friction of the rotation generates kinetic power. This mechanism is connected to a generator, directly, through a shaft, or a combination of gears.

how wind power works

The rotation in the generator produces mechanical power, which it then uses to generate electrical energy. There are different types of generators with different blades and ways of connecting to a generator, but the principle remains the same.

On an industrial scale, a number of wind turbines are placed in the same location and connected to a central electrical substation to form a wind farm. From there, the high-voltage current can be integrated into the national power grid or relayed where needed.

Wind energy has huge potential and is the second biggest source of renewable energy in the world. For example, an onshore wind turbine is able to generate more than 6 million kWh per year, which is enough to power 1 500 European households. 

The United States is aiming to have 20 percent of its energy requirements to be delivered through wind power by 2030.

Wind Energy Advantages And Disadvantages

Like solar power, some of the problems faced by the wind energy industry have already been pointed out. Wind energy has a number of advantages counting in its favor, but just as many issues and criticisms to address.

The following summary will help to highlight the main advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages
  1. No greenhouse gases are emitted or waste material generated.
  2. New job creation and opportunities in another fairly young industry.
  3. Wind farms can be created on existing land like farms, where it uses up a very small amount of space, as crops and grazing pastures can be used between wind turbines.
  4. Low maintenance and operational costs, since wind turbines can operate for very long periods without any form of direct management or service/repair.
Disadvantages
  1. Wind energy availability is intermittent and unreliable due to the reliance on wind.
  2. The noise created by the rotor blades and generators is a potential problem and has been reported as disruptive and annoying by nearby populations.
  3. The rotating blades of a wind turbine may pose a danger to wildlife, like birds and bats. 
  4. Due to their huge imposing size, especially in numbers, they are often seen as unsightly, not aesthetic, and ruining the landscape.

3) Hydropower As A Renewable Energy Source

Hydroelectric Power As Renewable Energy Source

As you will soon discover, hydropower (or hydroelectric power) is generated by water. So why would it be a weather-related source of energy? It is actually quite simple since water in rivers, dams, and reservoirs is all the direct result of rainfall that has been captured.

To better understand this process, hydroelectric power needs to be more precisely defined.

Hydroelectric power is the process by which mechanical energy, generated through kinetic energy, produce electrical power as a direct result of the flow of water. 

Hydroelectric power plants can usually be found in rivers or dams. The flow of water is directed through a turbine, which is connected to a generator, where kinetic energy is turned into mechanical energy used to produce electrical power.

How Hydroelectric Energy Is Produced

The generation of hydroelectric power is very similar to the process through which wind power is generated. Only in this case, the movement of water instead of air is used.

The flow of water from the dam or river, as previously described, is directed through a hydraulic turbine. The front of the turbine consists of the runner (blade), which is shaped in the same fashion as a wind turbine's rotor blade or boat propeller to help it rotate.

Water Turbine

As the water passes through the runner, it causes it to spin. The runner is connected to the generator via a shaft where the kinetic energy from the rotation is turned into mechanical energy inside the generator. The mechanical energy is then used to produce electricity.

Obviously, hydroelectric energy can only be generated while water is flowing. If dams dry up and rivers run dry, no electricity can be produced.

This problem is already being addressed through a process called pumped storage. The process allows hydroelectric power stations to "renew" their source of energy (water) by replenishing water supplies on a regular basis.

During periods of peak demand, water is allowed to flow through the turbines and create power. When there is low demand, water is pumped back into the reservoir or dam from below the water turbines, to be reused during periods of high demand.

Hydroelectric energy is the most widely used source of renewable energy and accounts for roughly 7 percent of the world's total energy usage. It creates more power than all the other renewable energy sources combined. And we have only started to exploit its full potential.

Hydroelectric Energy Advantages And Disadvantages

Like all other renewable sources of energy, hydroelectric energy has many advantages. But it also comes with its own difficulties and criticisms.  

The following summary will help to highlight the main advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages
  1. It is a very reliable source of energy, as it does not rely on sources like sunlight and wind, which are only intermittently available or completely absent.
  2. No greenhouse gases are emitted or waste material generated.
  3. It is a safe source of power compared to conventional powerplants and some other renewable sources of energy. (No fuels are used, and it does not pose the same danger to wildlife that wind turbines do.)
Disadvantages
  1. It is still costly to build, like conventional power stations. (But low maintenance costs offsets the cost of building and implementing a hydroelectric powerplant.) 
  2. Hydroelectric energy is especially vulnerable to droughts. Climate change is causing extended periods of drought throughout the world and may affect regions that depend on this source of power.
  3. It can negatively impact the environment, as the building of dams may impact vegetation along rivers further downstream and also disrupt the natural movement of certain fish species.

Conclusion

So, can renewable energy from the weather replace fossil fuels? As you can clearly see, this a very complex issue with no easy answer. The short and "simple" answer was given first, and the article then went into more detail to provide you with the best possible information.

You will now be aware of the potential advantages, as well as the problems faced by the renewable power industry related to the weather. The three most important renewable sources of energy were highlighted, including their potential, advantages, and drawbacks.

Other sources of renewable power can also be linked to weather activity, like tidal and wave energy. Although winds mainly drive our oceans and waters, many may argue that there is not a close enough relation. As a result, it will be excluded for now.

Never miss out again when another interesting and helpful article is released and stay updated, while also receiving helpful tips & information by simply  clicking on this link .

Until next time, keep your eye on the weather!

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Why The Sky Is Blue… And Some Interesting Other Sky Colors

Colors Of The Sky Explained

If you happen to look towards the skies on a clear, sunny day, you are almost guaranteed to observe a blue sky. This is due to a natural phenomenon that occurs as sunlight travels through the atmosphere.

The sky appears blue as a result of a process called Raleigh Scattering. Blue light has the shortest wavelength of all visible colors, causing the particles they pass through to oscillate more, which results in the light being scattered more widely, making it the most visible color in the sky.

Depending on your location, what season it is, and the time of day, the sky will have a different color or tint each time you look at it. From turning darker or lighter to changing into a completely different color, the atmosphere rarely stays the same.

Fortunately, there is a logical and scientific explanation for our changing sky. In this article, we look at some of the most common and well-known colors on display in the atmosphere and why it happens.

Before looking at the individual colors, we need to look at the overall reason why the sky changes color in the first place.

Why Do The Sky Change Colors?

The sky changes color due to the scattering of light (Commonly referred to as Rayleigh scattering by scientists.) Small molecules of oxygen and nitrogen are responsible for this scattering of light.

The specific color we see is determined by the wavelength of the color, as well as the amount of atmosphere (distance) the light has to travel through.

Different colors have different wavelengths. The longer the distance they have to travel through the atmosphere, the more molecules they encounter, causing more scattering. Colors with longer wavelengths can travel further than those with short wavelengths.

Using The Color Spectrum To Understand The Colors Of The Sky

The white light you see emitted by the sun is not a single color but actually a combination of primary colors. There are seven primary colors, namely red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo (purple), and violet (also abbreviated and known as ROYGBIV). 

use color spectrum to understand the color of sky

Each color has millions of tints, but when combined, they create white light. The diagram shown above will give you a better understanding of how white light gets split up.

Explaining The Different Colors Of The Sky

Now that the cause for the different colors in the sky has been determined, we can examine the specific colors and why they occur. 

A quick note on Rayleigh scattering we briefly mentioned earlier. It is named after physicist Lord Rayleigh, who correctly concluded that the scattering of light takes place by particles much smaller than a color's wavelength, namely molecules mostly found in gases.

Generally, the atoms of oxygen and nitrogen are enough to scatter light into its various colors. The older theory that particles of dust and water moisture were the main causes of color scattering had mainly been disproved. They still play a role, though, just a lesser one.

With that said, it will becomes clear as we discuss the different colors, how dust particles and moisture contribute to the way in which many of them are formed. 

The most appropriate way in which to start examining the different colors of the sky is to get straight to the question asked more often than any other color-related question by children, students, and specifically in Google. One you probably asked yourself at some point...

Why Is The Sky Blue?

You normally see a blue sky on a clear day when the sun is shining and already above the horizon. Blue is seen more often than any other color during the day. 

why the sky is blue

As the light of the sun travels through the atmosphere, it causes the molecules and small particles they pass through to oscillate (move up and down or back in forth). The oscillation, in turn, causes the colors in the spectrum to be scattered in all directions. 

Colors with shorter wavelengths cause the particles to oscillate faster than those with longer wavelengths. When a particle oscillates faster, more of the scattered color is produced, making it more visible than other colors.

Blue light has a very short wavelength, and as a result, is scattered more than others. It is this high frequency of scattering that makes blue much more visible than any other color on a clear sunny day.

Violet light gets scattered even more than blue light, but since there is a smaller amount of it present in visible light than blue, and because our eyes are much more sensitive to blue than violet color, we only see the blue tint.

Why Is The Sky Red?

The sky normally turns red during a sunset, and to a lesser extent, sunrise. At this time, the sun is either touching or just beneath the horizon.

Red Sky

Due to the position of the sun, the light has to travel much further through the atmosphere to reach your location. As always, violet and blue light are scattered the most, lighting up the sky below them. However, you are now much further away from the sun and scattered light.

With many more molecules in the air to travel through, the blue light gets scattered and rescattered and fades long before it reaches you. Red light, which has a longer wavelength, travels unaffected through the particles to reach you, making it possible to view.

If the sky is polluted, more particles are present in the atmosphere, which means even more shortwave colors are blocked, resulting in the sky appearing even redder. Ironically, it is the pollution particles in the air that causes some of the most spectacular sunsets.  

Why Do The Sky Turn Pink?

It may sound like a strange and rare color for the sky to display, but a pink sky is actually quite common in large cities, especially those experiencing high levels of pollution.

Pink Sky

During a high-pressure system, when plenty of particles from the pollution adds to the molecules in the air, an effective filter for the scattering of violet light is created.

Although blue light is more visible than violet light under normal circumstances, these unique atmospheric circumstances cause more violet to be scattered more than blue light, resulting in a pink (violet) sky.  

A sunset's color can appear pink under similar conditions that create a red sky. Under some circumstances, red light reaching you, combined with red light reflected off particles high in the air, and some scattered blue light making it through, creates a beautiful violet sunset.   

Why Do The Sky Turn Grey?

It is a well-known fact that the sky looks grey when it is overcast and completely covered with clouds. The appearance of the grey color has a relatively simple explanation.

Grey Sky

Clouds are predominantly filled with small water droplets. Unlike the molecules and particles that scatter light according to their wavelengths on a clear day, water droplets refract light equally. As a result, the light passing through the clouds remains white.

The only reason we view the light as grey is because the clouds block some of the light from passing through, making it appear grey. The different shades of grey you observe in clouds are a result of their density, which determines the amount of light they allow through.

If you want to know more about the different types of clouds and the amount of coverage each provides, you can read more about cloud formations in this article

Why Do The Sky Turn Green?

There are quite a few speculations and beliefs circulation around green skies. One of the popular ones is the belief that green skies precede a tornado. (You can read more about this belief and folklore regarding red skies in this article.)

Green Sky

There is no clear consensus or any facts that can explain why the sky sometimes appears green. There are a couple of theories among scientists. The most plausible one involves a combination of the scattering of light combined with the presence of a storm system.

We know why blue light occurs. Since most storms appear later in the afternoon, the sun will already be close to the horizon, emitting a yellow color. The combination of the blue and yellow light results in the green sky you see contrasted against the dark edges of a storm.

This is just one theory, but it seems to be one of the most popular and more believable ones. Just keep in mind that no theory has been scientifically proven yet. 

Conclusion

In this article, we covered the colors in the sky most often observed. The sky can and does produce many more colors, but most of them have a similar explanation to the ones described in this article.

You will now have a much better understanding of when and why these colors appear in the sky, as well as the processes involved in creating them.

Never miss out again when another interesting and helpful article is released and stay updated, while also receiving helpful tips & information by simply  clicking on this link .

Until next time, keep your eye on the weather!

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22 Weather Myths And Superstitions Addressed, Explained, Or Debunked

Weather Myths And Superstitions

Some have been around for centuries, while new ones are created every day, but weather myths and misconceptions about different meteorological occurrences are still surprisingly popular today.  

Weather myths, superstitions, or folklore. Call them what you want, but they are here to stay. As mentioned, they have been around for centuries and will still be around long after we are all gone.

Many of these weather myths are very loosely based on some truths, but in general is either a simple misunderstanding of events, coincidence, or just stories created to spread controversy and create some sensation.

Some myths are harmless enough and can be quickly dismissed. However, there are quite a few myths that can be potentially very dangerous and needs to be addressed and corrected.

Before continuing, though, we first need to clarify what precisely a weather myth is.

What Is A Weather Myth

Collins Dictionary gives a good explanation by describing a myth as follows: "A myth is a well-known story which was made up in the past to explain natural events or to justify religious beliefs or social customs."

Most of you will already know that the weather is a variety or combination of different atmospheric conditions, including heat, cold, wind, rain, snow, cloud formation, and storms.

Therefore it can be concluded that a weather myth (or folklore) is a well-known story or belief which was made up in the past to explain or predict various atmospheric conditions.

But does this mean all weather myths are just made-up stories or superstitions? Not at all. As you will soon find out, many of these "myths" turn out to be very accurate and backed up by scientific evidence. 

22 Weather Myths Examined And Explained

To see how much truth, or lack of it, there is to these weather myths, we take a look at the most popular or common beliefs. More specifically, I have chosen 22 examples to illustrate how a weather myth can true, false, or very loosely based on the truth.  

1) A Waterspout Turns Into A tornado When Reaches Land

This myth may sound to have some validity to it but is not technically correct. A water spout (also called a water tornado) is already a tornado, even while it is still over water.

waterspout

The tornado simply draws water from the surface of the ocean or lake which results in the water display you see in the air. As soon as the waterspout reaches the shore and dry land, it starts to pick up soil and debris, which leads to the familiar image we have of a tornado.

The atmospheric conditions and processes that created the tornado in the first place are exactly the same. The only thing that changed is the surface over which it occurs. Water that was sucked up into the tornado just got replaced by soil and debris once it reached land.

To find out more about a tornado and how it is formed, you can find the full article here.

2) It's Just A Tropical Storm

No, it's NOT just a tropical storm. You may have heard the saying, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." This is true for anyone willing to use this misconception to dismiss a serious situation. Some people view storms smaller than a hurricane as not that dangerous.

If you have some knowledge of hurricanes, you will know that they start as a tropical depression in the subtropical waters, and as it grows, it turns into a tropical storm. Once wind speeds exceed 74 mph, the storm is classified as a Category 1 Hurricane.

(From here, hurricanes are divided into categories, ranging from a Category 1 to a Category 5 Hurricane, all classified according to wind speed.)

Now keep in mind that the strongest tropical storm has wind speeds of up to 74 mph, and a Category 1 Hurricane starts at 75 mph. This means the difference between a tropical storm and a hurricane can be only one mile per hour! 

The warm water of the tropics also causes the atmosphere to saturate with moisture. This usually results in heavy and sustained rainfall. Combined with the 74 mph strong winds, a tropical storm is still potentially deadly and can lead to severe damage and even loss of life.

It is called a storm for a reason and must be taken seriously. Everyone potentially affected must take extreme care during a tropical storm, including staying indoors and following all safety precautions. 

If you are in any way unsure what a hurricane or tropical storm is and how they are formed, you can read the in-depth article here.

3) Lightning Never Strikes Twice (At The Same Location)

This statement is completely false and proven on multiple occasions. (The Empire States building in New York gets hit by lightning at least a hundred times on average each year.)

lightning

Lightning takes the easiest way to the ground. This does not mean it follows a straight line, as it has to find its way through the air (which normally acts as an insulator between electrical charges). This explains the "stepped" visual effect of a lightning bolt.

(You can read more about lightning, what it is, and how it is formed in this article.)

Once close to the ground, tall structures like radio towers and skyscrapers become easy targets and can be struck multiple times during one thunderstorm once in a decade. There is no reason or scientific evidence why lightning will not hit the same object more than once. 

4) Open Your Windows When A Tornado Approaches

Many people are under the impression that the immense buildup of pressure that accompanies a tornado will cause the windows to blow inwards due to the strain.

The common belief is that by opening the windows, the pressure inside and outside the house will be equalized and the damage reduced. Although there is some truth behind this thinking, it is actually a misconception and will not cause any less damage.

First of all, you are wasting valuable time you could have used to get you, your family, and some precious belonging to the safety of a tornado shelter or the basement.

Secondly, a tornado is so powerful with winds blowing in all directions that it will blow right through the windows, open or not. If it is strong enough to lift houses off their foundations and heavy trucks into the air, an open window is not going to make any difference. 

Lastly, with the windows open, air can easily enter the house and put upward pressure on the ceiling. Scientists believe the lift provided by this pressure makes it much easier for a tornado to lift the roof off a house.

5) Lightning Is A Physical Object

Although it looks like a separate object in every way, a lightning bolt is not a physical object. It is just the visual result of air warming up to 30 000° Celsius (54 000° Fahrenheit) within a fraction of a second (30 microseconds).

When the positive and negative charges in a cloud become too powerful to be insulated anymore, they collide and cause a huge electrical discharge (up to a billion volts) which results in the powerful lightning display as the air heats up in a fraction of a second.

This means lightning is not so much an object but rather an occurrence or an event. 

6) You Are Safe From Lightning In A House

lightning and house

The tornado simply draws water from the surface of the ocean or lake, which results in the water display you see in the air. As soon as the waterspout reaches the shore and dry land, it starts to pick up soil and debris, which leads to the familiar image we have of a tornado.

The atmospheric conditions and processes that created the tornado in the first place are exactly the same. The only thing that changed is the surface over which it occurs. Water that was sucked up into the tornado just got replaced by soil and debris once it reached land.

To find out more about a tornado and how it is formed, you can find the full article here.

7) Take Shelter Under A Highway Overpass To Protect From Tornadoes

This is probably one of the worst actions you can take while on the road when a tornado. Leaving the relative safety of your home to go and hide under an exposed structure like a highway overpass. This is a very big and dangerous misconception.

Although an overpass is strongly built and can withstand the force of a tornado, it will not protect you at all. Not only are you completely exposed to dangerous flying debris, but tornadoes tend to funnel underneath overpasses, creating stronger gusts and wind swirls. 

If you can, quickly find a low-lying spot like a trench or shallow depression in the field. If a sturdy concrete building is within reach, that will probably be your best option. If none of these options are available, staying in your car will be the next best thing.

8) Lightning And Tornadoes Are The Leading Causes Of Fatalities

Due to their violent nature and because they cause so much damage in such a short period of time, it is only natural to assume that these phenomena will be responsible for the majority of human deaths throughout the world.

Although they are potentially deadly and violent in nature, lightning and tornadoes are not the leading causes of fatalities. Not even close. So this assumption is, without a doubt, a myth or, better put, a big misconception. 

Flooding occurs only near water sources

It is hard to highlight which weather phenomena are really the deadliest, as different parts of the world experience different kinds of weather events. With that said, flooding is, without a doubt, one of the leading (if not the main) causes of death globally.

Flooding always has the deadliest and most devastating impact on a region where a severe storm occurred. Whether it during or after a monsoon downpour in India or as a result of a hurricane hitting the Florida Coast, flooding is always the deadliest contributor.

A few examples to add some perspective: The 1931 China Floods reportedly took up to 4 million lives, the 1938 Yellow River Flood (also in China) caused up to 2 million deaths, and the 1530 St. Felix's Flood resulted in more than 100 000 deaths in the Netherlands.

Hurricanes and typhoons also lead to countless deaths throughout history due to flooding that outnumbers any amount of fatalities caused by lightning and tornadoes combined. Typhoon Nina resulted in 229 000 lives lost in 1975. (And that is just one typhoon.)  

9) Consume Alcohol To Warm You Up During Cold Weather

Depending on your own habits and preferences, you may really wish this one to be true. Sadly, this is also a myth or misconception. In fact, alcohol has the opposite effect of warming you up and can put your health in danger.

When you consume alcohol, you actually do feel warmer. This is because the blood vessels close to your skin widen, and more blood is allowed to flow through them when you drink.

While you may feel warm, heat is taken away from your body's core, which is dangerous as keeping your body's core temperature elevated is essential. If you are still exposed to the cold, the dilated blood vessels will cool down very quickly, sometimes assisted by sweating.

As a result, your whole body's temperature, including your core, starts to drop at a rapid rate. In very cold weather, this can be dangerous and may lead to hypothermia and other conditions related to exposure to cold. 

10) A Tornado Can Not Cross Rivers And Dams

This is just dead wrong and a real myth. Not only can tornadoes cross rivers and lakes, but some of them are also formed on the surface of the ocean or a lake. (Remember the waterspout phenomenon that was discussed earlier in this article?)

There is really not much more to say on this topic, except to please keep in mind that crossing a lake or river will not protect you from a tornado.

11) Cold Weather Makes You Sick

The most accurate way to describe this myth is to say that it is very loosely based on the truth. But, no, cold weather itself does not make you sick. You will not get a cold or flu by going outside on a chilly evening (even with wet hair.)

alcohol and cold

The only real reason you can get sick from being cold and wet is if your immune system is already weak or compromised. Cold weather tends to lower your immune system further by constricting your blood vessels and use more energy to cope with the cold.

Viruses and bacteria also tend to hang around longer in cold, dry air. Combine this with a weakened immune system, and you stand a greater chance of getting sick. But cold weather on its own will definitely not make you sick or cause an infection.

12) You Can Only Suffer From Sunburn During Summer Time

This statement is not true at all. You are exposed to the sun's harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays throughout the year. Although the intensity of the UV radiation is a lot less during the winter, spending a whole day in sunlight can still result in sunburn.

A cloudy sky also does not protect you from the sun's harmful UV radiation. Up to 80% of UV rays can pass directly through a cloud. The same applies to spending time in the shade. The UV radiation can be reflected from nearby surfaces onto your skin and cause sunburn.

The best way to stay safe is to put on some sunscreen if you know you will be spending a large part of the day outside. It doesn't matter whether if it is in the middle of winter.   

13) The Strength Of The Winds In A Hurricane Determines Its Impact

The effects of hurricanes are well-known. Houses and structures get torn apart, trees and power lines are flattened, and cars & infrastructure are destroyed.

Palm trees blowing in wind

As devastating as these winds are, they don't have the biggest impact on lives and the environment. The most significant and longest-lasting impact is caused by flooding.

The large amount of moisture that the hurricane picked over the ocean causes huge and persistent downpours over the affected area. This leads to large-scale flooding, even days after the storm has passed.

The impact of flooding ranges from severe and irreversible damage to properties and infrastructure to human and animal fatalities. This can be a direct result of drowning or indirectly through waterborne diseases.

14) Flash Flooding Only Occur Near Water Sources Like Rivers, Lakes, And Dams

This belief is a complete falsehood and a potentially very dangerous one. Flash flooding can occur in any area like a basin or low-lying area, where a large amount of rain falls in a short period of time. If there are no or minimal runoff areas, the water cane levels rise quickly. 

The cause of the flooding is usually heavy and sustained rainfall. In regions like India, the causes of flash flooding is a result of heavy downpours during a monsoon which can release a massive amount of water in a very short space of time.

If you live in a low-lying area and regularly experience sustained, heavy periods of rainfall, it is important that you stay aware of unexpected heavy downpours. With an increasingly unpredictable and volatile weather system, you may need to react very quickly.

15) A Rooster Reporting Rain In The Middle Of The Night

I had to research this one properly, as I didn't grow up on a farm or in a rural area. Well, according to folklore, if a rooster crows in the middle of the night, it means rain is on the way. (What I knew up to that point is that they usually crow at the crack of dawn.)

rooster

After some proper research, it became clear that there is absolutely no evidence or correlation between a rooster crowing in the middle of the night and approaching rainy weather. From a scientific and practical standpoint, no link could be established.

There are plenty of evidence of roosters crowing throughout the night, mostly found on forums where people complained and wanted advice on how to make them stop. (Sorry, no help available on that side as well).

The most common answer from most sources can be summed up as, "Roosters may crow before sunrise, to answer another rooster's crow, or whenever the hell they feel like it." Excuse the fairly crude, but that seems to be the general consensus regarding this issue.

16) It Is Safe To Drive Over A Flooded Bridge Or Roadway

This is a false and very dangerous statement or belief. Many motorists have misjudged the strength or depth of water-covered roadways in the past, with serious and sometimes tragic results. The sheer power of water is almost always are underestimated.

There is almost no way to accurately judge the state of a road surface beneath flowing water, as well as how deep the water is. The road surface may be completely washed away, and it only takes two feet of water to move most vehicles, including SUVs and small trucks. 

This misconception (myth or falsehood) already resulted in multiple deaths and incidents of cars being washed away throughout the years. Never underestimate the power of water. It is simply not worth the risk.

17) Painful Knees And Sore Joints Mean Bad Weather

This statement is very hard to prove or disprove. Scientists and the medical community have already done countless studies. The amount of mixed results makes it impossible to draw any definitive conclusions between the weather and joint pain.

joint pain

It has been determined that there is a definite connection between the change in air pressure and joint pain. The problem is that other atmospheric conditions like humidity and temperature also affect the body. This is part of what makes finding an answer so difficult.

One thing that can be concluded with certainty is that the human body can only "sense" weather conditions that it is currently experiencing, not which weather conditions it will experience in the future. So, this is a case that falls in the TBD (to be determined) category.    

18) Victims Of Lightning Strikes Are Still Electrified

This statement is absolutely false. The human body has no capacity to store any form of electricity. When the lightning strike has gone, so have any traces of an electrical current.

When lightning strikes a person, a large surge of electricity flows through the body for a fraction of a second. Afterward, there is no electrical current flowing through it, and since the body is unable to store electricity, it is perfectly safe to touch and handle the individual. 

19) “Red Sky At Night, Sailor’s Delight; Red Sky In The Morning, Sailors Take Warning.”

Although it is not always the case, this old saying can be considered mostly true. It is backed up by scientific evidence and eyewitness accounts.

The “Red Sky At Night, Sailor’s Delight" part can be explained as follows: When the sun sets behind a sky filled with dry dust particles, the sky appears orange-red due to the way the light is scattered by the particles which allow red light through.

Red Sky At Night Sailors Delight Red Sky In The Morning Sailors Take Warning

This orange-red phenomenon usually points to a stable and high-pressure system approaching, which indicates good weather conditions are on the way.

The "Red Sky In The Morning, Sailors Take Warning" part has the opposite meaning: A deep red sky in the morning can be the result of large amounts of water moisture in the air. The moisture causes the light to scatter and allows the deep-red light to filter through.

The deep-red color points towards a low-pressure system and may indicate that wet and stormy weather conditions are on the way.

As I already stated, these weather conditions do not always occur, but there is enough scientific and eyewitness evidence to substantiate this old saying. 

20) New Spider Webs Means Dry Weather

This belief has been proven to be true and is in line with meteorological principles. When spiders sense little or no humidity, they spin their webs as dry conditions will not destroy their webs, while they tend to hold back and wait when they pick up the moisture in the air.

As you would have guessed by now, spiders are very sensitive to humidity and can pick up the slightest change in moisture content in the air. This capability allows them to adapt to weather conditions before the rest of us are even aware of any changes.

There are other beliefs about certain spider behavior that also has validity, including a sudden increase in the number of spiders, as well as spiders appearing in numbers inside a home, but this is not relevant for the purpose of addressing this issue. 

21) Lightning Only Strikes Tall Buildings

There is some truth to this belief, as discussed, but not always the case. Lightning finds the easiest path possible to the ground. If a tall building is close enough to this path, it will be hit. Too far away from its path, and the lightning will hit another object closer to the ground.

Ground Strike

This due to the "stepped leader" that has to find its way through the air (which can act as an insulator against electricity). Hence the "zigzag or staircase" look of a lightning bolt, as it is unable to follow a straight line to the ground.

As a result, the lightning's path may or may not come close to a tall object. If it comes close enough, the "stepped leader" will connect with a "charged streamer" in tall objects, and a strike occurs. If a tall building is too far away from its path, it will hit the next closest object.

If this terminology doesn't make sense to you, you can find a more detailed explanation about how lightning works in this article

22) The Sky Will Turn Green Before A Tornado

The "green sky phenomenon" is based on a belief that the sky turns green before a tornado appears. Although it often happens that a green sky precedes a tornado, scientists cannot establish any correlation between the two. This may be more a case of coincidence.

It does not mean there is no truth to this belief, as many incidents of green skies present before tornado occurrences have been reported. Meteorologists were only unable to find any connections between them up till now. It may be an unproven fact or just a coincidence.

Conclusion

There are many more myths and folklore around from all walks of life and throughout the world. The aim of this article was to focus on the most common and well-known ones.

By now, you should have many of your questions answered about the truth or accuracy of the majority of these myths (beliefs, folklore, or superstitions). As you would have noticed, many of them are very true or false, but quite a few are based on half-truths or loose facts. 

As a result, many of these "myths" are not a simple case of black or white, but plenty of grey areas where some beliefs can be more or less true, depending on situation and perspective. These I will leave for you to decide. 

Never miss out again when another interesting and helpful article is released and stay updated, while also receiving helpful tips & information by simply  clicking on this link .

Until next time, keep your eye on the weather!

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How Weather And Climate Change Will Affect Your Business Or Occupation

By now, very few people still deny the reality of climate change and its influence on weather events around the world. But it also has an effect on jobs and businesses we will have to adjust to in the future.

We are so focused on the physical impact of weather and climate change that many of us are oblivious to its indirect consequences that are much more serious than you may realize. I am referring to the economic implications in the very near future.

More specifically, I am referring to the effect weather and climate change will have on the future and survival of many industries and related occupations.

Climate And Agriculture

The devastating effect extreme and persisting changes in weather have on the agricultural sector are highlighted on the news every year. Whether it is flooding or drought, the majority of countries throughout the world are feeling the strain on their agricultural sectors.

Over time, climate change will be affecting several industries, not just agriculture. This also includes the professions associated with them. These potentially vulnerable industries and occupations will be the main focus of this article. 

(Please note that the increasingly long-term weather changes and occurrences of extreme weather events are all symptoms of climate change. If you are still unsure about the relationship between weather and climate, you can find a clear explanation in this article.)   

To highlight and illustrate this threat, we will be looking at eleven industries and 8 occupations that will be negatively impacted and disrupted as a result of climate change.

Nine Industries That Will Be Negatively Influenced And Disrupted By Climate Change

The following industries have already been identified as some of the more visible casualties of climate change. Over time, many more sectors of industry may discover that they are also affected by this crisis that we created for ourselves.

1) Tourism

Tourism

Countries and regions attract tourists both locally and from around the world. Many of the most beautiful and sought-after tourist destinations are unfortunately situated in locations increasingly targeted by natural disasters and rising sea levels due to climate change.

The Philippines Islands and the Maldives are just two examples of popular tourist spots that are threatened by the effects of a changing climate. 

This has a negative effect on two fronts. Not only the tourist destination but travelers and vacation goers as well are affected by this growing problem.  

First, many of these tourist destinations are countries or islands, which largest source of revenue comes from tourism. The damage caused by extreme weather events leads to huge costs as a result of rebuilding/moving resorts and hotels, as well as infrastructure.

Potential tourists are faced with two issues that may discourage them from visiting these tourist destinations. They are faced with the increased threat of being caught up in extreme weather events, as well as rising costs to compensate for repairing and rebuilding resorts.

The tourist industry is already feeling the effects of this serious problem.  As conditions will only deteriorate in the future, so will the impact on tourism.

2) The Wine Industry

Wine Industry

I already mentioned agriculture as one of the industries already severely affected by a warming climate. Within the agricultural sector, the wine industry is especially vulnerable.

Grapevines produce the best results in a particular climate, more specifically, a Mediterranean type of environment. A large part of wine-producing regions across the world which experience these conditions is now exposed to long spells of elevated temperatures. This may lead to grapes of inferior quality or result in a complete crop failure.

Apart from rising temperatures, the change in climate also leads to new forms of infestation from insects that flourish under the new conditions. The unpredictable and fluctuating weather also leads to flooding and soil erosion, compounding the problem for wine farmers.

3) Winter Holiday Resorts

Winter Holiday Resorts

One of the most noticeable effects and irrefutable proof of Global Warming is the breakup of the icecaps at the Poles. Media coverage has given enough exposure to this phenomenon that is causing a rise in sea levels, a changing climate, and extreme weather events globally.

However, the long-term melting of ice is not limited to just the North and South Poles. Countries in or near the Arctic Circle, and high-lying areas in Europe and North America, heavily rely on snow coverage for their skiing resorts to operate.

Unfortunately, many of these areas are also seeing a reduction in snowfall and coverage due to warming temperatures. If the reduction in snow coverage continues to decrease at such an accelerated speed, that two-thirds of ski resorts will be forced to close by 2100.

(This estimate is according to Daniel Scott, Canada's chairman of Global Change And Tourism at the University of Waterloo.)

4) Insurance Companies

Insurance Companies

Natural disasters that are driven by climate change, such as hurricanes, flooding, forest fires, etc., come at a high cost to affected areas. Rebuilding infrastructure, the restoration of roads, telecommunication, water supplies, and sanitation run into millions of dollars. 

But, it also comes at a huge financial cost for another financial sector, namely the Insurance Industry. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused over $70 billion in losses to the economy. Insurance companies had to pay out $26 billion for the items that were insured.

Since then, an increasing amount of natural disasters have occurred over the following years with similar results. The huge financial strain on the insurance companies inevitably leads to a rise in insurance premiums, affecting the consumer.

At some point, the insurance industry will simply not be able to carry the financial load of these natural disasters anymore, and customers will not be able to afford the rising costs of insurance premiums. And this will threaten the very existence of the insurance industry.

5) Commercial Fishing

Fishing Industry

Climate change is affecting the fishing industry in two very different ways. The amount of carbon dioxide building up in the atmosphere is already at a critical level. Combining this toxic gas with water leads to the world's ocean water turning acidic.

The rise in temperatures in oceans, rivers, and damns make the natural habitat for some fish species difficult to survive in. The warm waters in rivers during 2003, Scotland's warmest year to date, led to the death of hundreds of salmon due to a lack of oxygen.

The combination of the acidification of seawater with rising water temperatures is leading to a rapid decline in the global fish population. Combined with overfishing, this does not bode well for the future of commercial fisheries and smaller fishing communities.

6) The Airline Industry

Airline Industry

The airline industry gets hit from a variety of fronts as a result of weather & climate change.

Dangerous and unsafe weather conditions (aka stormy and extreme weather events) are the primary cause of delays and cancellations of flights at airports across the world. This is not just inconvenient for travelers, but financially very costly for airlines.

Airlines are also faced with the increasing problem of aviation fuel. The constant rise in fuel prices is accompanied by unpredictable wind conditions, which can cause an aircraft's engines to work harder and use up more fuel than intended.

Strict emissions standards imposed by many countries is forcing airlines to invest in more fuel-efficient aircraft and limit the way in which existing aircraft operate. All these additional factors are only adding to the financial pressure airlines are already experiencing. 

7) Mining

Mining

The mining industry, especially those involved in the extraction of fossil fuels, is under severe pressure from both restrictive legislature and decreasing profit margins.

In the previous section, I mentioned the strict emission standards imposed by countries on industries. The Paris Climate Agreement was reached in 2015, which was adopted by 197 countries, with the aim of limiting the global rise in temperature this century to 2° Celsius. 

One of the components of this agreement was the reduction in greenhouse gases to reduce global warming. This means the move away from the burning of fossil fuels that create these greenhouse gases. This directly impacts the coal mining industry.

Traditional sources of energy use coal-burning and other fossil fuels to create electricity. The move towards cleaner sources of energy (wind, solar & nuclear) combined with the tighter restriction on fossil fuel emissions is a double blow for coal mining.

The biggest impact on the coal industry is a shrinking global market. As more countries are moving towards cleaner power sources, there is simply not enough demand for coal. The situation is worsened by the mining process itself, using machinery that also burns fuel.   

The majority of mines (not just coal mines) use a large number of heavy machinery to move earth and ore around, especially in open mines. The number of emissions that are generated can quickly exceed the limits that are regulated by authorities. 

Add contributing factors like deteriorating weather conditions that are making access to and conditions in mines more hazardous, and we are left with a mining industry that is battling to stay profitable and survive under severe pressure.  

8) Agriculture

Agriculture

Earlier in this section, I focused on a part of the agricultural sector that is uniquely vulnerable to climate change, namely the wine industry. This is due to its dependency on specific weather conditions to produce the quality of grapes necessary for wine-making and export.

Many agricultural products are more resilient to the elements, such as grain, corn, and sugar cane. They grow under a variety of conditions but are not immune to climate change.

Extended periods of drought can severely influence these crops, rendering them unfit for harvesting. Under severe conditions, it can even lead to complete crop failure.

Dry conditions can also lead to soil deterioration and loosening, which make them more susceptible to wind and water erosion. This type of erosion removes valuable topsoil necessary growth way from otherwise fertile farmland.

Persistent periods of rainfall not only lead to flooding and erosion, but standing water will inevitability result in crop failures. 

These are not future conditions that were described here but had already been taking place over the last decade across the globe, causing many farmers to lose their land. Over time, this will not just affect individual farmers but entire agricultural sectors. 

9) Energy Companies

Energy Companies

At this, stage there is no need to explain the need to move away from the burning of fossil fuels to reduce the creation of greenhouse gases, one of the primary contributors to global warming. I already explained its impact by focusing on relevant industries.  

You will also be aware of the strict emission standards and restrictions imposed by a majority of countries on industries producing or excavating fossil fuels, as well as releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. 

This creates a huge problem for the energy-producing industry, especially those still dependent on fossil fuels. It is especially problematic for developing countries, and those whose's energy demands outweigh the capabilities and costs of clean alternatives.

Developed countries focused on clean energy already use nuclear power and are investing in alternative energy sources, such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric power. Even for them, a power shortage sometimes means supplementing with traditional power sources.

Changing from traditional to alternative clean energy production is very costly, as it entails a complete change in infrastructure and investment into alternative energy sources. Most developing countries and traditional energy companies simply can not afford this.

Growing pressure from the global community is putting companies still using fossil fuels to produce energy under a lot of strain. The global reduction in coal production, combined with increasing restrictions and penalties, threatens the future of these companies.  

10) The Beverage Industry

Beverage Companies

Yes, you read that right. Even beverage companies are already affected by changes in weather and climate. The situation will only worsen in the future as the problem with water shortage continues to worsen due to the continuing rise in global temperatures.

The soft industry drink and companies producing bottled water are the most at risk since water is the most important and biggest ingredient in their products.

Companies producing soft drinks are also negatively impacted by their reliance on large amounts of sugar. Since the agricultural sector also suffers as a result of climate change, sugar cane and sugar beet plantations are directly affected.

As a result, soft drink companies will not only battle water shortage problems but a potential shortage of sugar supplies, which will also inevitably lead to a rise in sugar prices.

Breweries can also be listed under this category. A large quantity of water is used in the production of beer and similar alcoholic beverages. For example, global beer giant Anheuser-Busch uses 3½ barrels of water to produce just one barrel of beer.

Breweries need to adapt to new and innovative ways to produce beer in such a way that less water is used in the brewing process. If they are unable to implement water-saving processes successfully, the whole industry will suffer, leading to shortages and rising costs.

11) Construction Companies

Construction Companies

One industry that you will not normally associate with weather and climate change is the construction industry. This only goes to show you the far-reaching effects of climate change.

Prolonged periods of warm or cold & stormy weather both have potentially negative effects on construction. Unpredictable, stormy weather that is a trademark of a changing weather system leads to long delays in construction, as well as dangerous working conditions.

These delays are very costly for construction companies, as it means not meeting targets, paying a workforce when no work is possible, and disruption in scheduling and the delivery of building supplies.

Extended periods of heat also impact the industry. It creates an uncomfortable working environment, with heat-related fatigue reducing productivity. Warm conditions also make concrete problematic to cure. The combination of both leads to a slowdown in construction.

The building industry must not only adjust to a changing climate but also find ways to construct buildings that can withstand its effects. This includes the creation of buildings that can cope with heat more efficiently, as well as withstand extreme weather events. 

Related Industries And Occupations That Will Be Influenced And Disrupted By Climate Change

Needless to say, jobs and industries directly or indirectly related to the ones mentioned in the previous section are also adversely affected. Here is a list of a few of the occupations and related industries, highlighting just how many jobs and industries may be affected.

1) Agriculture:

  • Farmers
  • Farm Workers
  • Manufacturers Of Agricultural Equipment
  • Companies Manufacturing Pesticides

2) Airline Industry

  • Pilots 
  • Cabin Crew
  • Ground Staff
  • Aircraft Manufacturers

3) Construction

  • Construction Workers
  • Manufacturers Of Construction Equipment
  • Manufacturers Of Building Materials
  • Smaller Building Companies

4) Tourism

  • Holiday Resorts
  • Hotels
  • Tourist Operators
  • Worker In The Hospitality Industry

5) Commercial Fishing

  • Fishermen
  • Manufacturers Of Commercial Fishing Equipment
  • Manufacturers Of Fishing Vessels
  • Fisheries
  • Commercial Fishing Fleets

6) Winter Holiday Resorts

  • Professionals Ski Instructors
  • Ski Resorts
  • Manufacturers Of Skis, Snowboards, And Boots
  • Manufacturers Of Related Equipment Like Snowmobiles, Ski Lifts
  • Resort Hospitality Staff

7) Mining

  • Miners
  • Mining Engineers
  • Mining Companies
  • Manufacturers Of Mining Equipment
  • Refineries Of Coal, Gold, Platinum Etc.
  • Drilling Companies

Off course, there are a large number of jobs and related industries not mentioned in this list, but the purpose of this list is to just give you a small taste of the extent to which weather and climate change are affecting industries and related occupations.

Conclusion

After reading this article, you will be well aware of the fact that many more industries are affected by changes in the climate. In fact, you may come to the conclusion that very few industries will not be affected by our changing weather systems.

The thought is unsettling but sadly a proven reality. This does not mean all industries face extinction. With proper planning and the willingness to adapt to the changing conditions, most industries will be able to survive, but some difficult decisions need to be made.

With the downscaling or closure of some industries, many new industries will be created to assist with the creation of "clean energy," other industries creating environment-friendly products, and also ones adapting infrastructure to cope and make use of natural resources.

The goal of this article is to make you realize how broadly our changing climate will affect most industries, as well as emphasizing the need for different economic sectors to make early preparations and adapt as quickly as possible to limit the consequences.

Initiatives are already implemented on a global scale to slow down the severity of global warming, but individual companies can always do more to help the process along.  

Never miss out again when another interesting and helpful article is released and stay updated, while also receiving helpful tips & information by simply  clicking on this link .

Until next time, keep your eye on the weather!

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Defining Weathering, How It Relate To Erosion And The Different Types Of Weathering

What Is Weathering, What Are Its Causes, And How Does It Relate To Erosion

Long-term exposure to the weather has significant effects on the physical environment. These effects are known as weathering. We examine what weathering is and its impact on our surroundings.

Weathering is the slow and systematic breakdown of stone, soil, and vegetation like wood as a result of contact with elements in the atmosphere such as rain, heat, cold, and wind. Weathering also directly impacts artificial (or human-made) objects and even the human body, specifically the skin.

It slowly takes place on a daily basis and probably right in front of your eyes without you even being aware of it. Weathering is a slow but persistent process, which can result in irreversible damage to both your bodies and the environment. 

But weathering is not the only culprit. Another process called erosion can also wear down and change the environment over time. However, it must be important to note that weathering and erosion are not the same phenomena. 

Although they often get confused with each other, weathering and erosion are two entirely different processes. We will highlight these differences later on in this article, as well as how they relate to each other.

Before we delve into the details of how and why weathering takes place, as well as its relationship with erosion, we need to define what weathering is in the first place. 

Weathering Definition

What Is Weathering

Weathering is the slow and systematic breakdown of stone, soil, and vegetation like wood as a result of contact with elements in the atmosphere such as rain, heat, cold, and wind. Weathering also impacts artificial (human-made) objects and even our human bodies directly.

Sustained periods of exposure to any one of these elements in the atmosphere, or a combination of them, will result in a weakening and eventual breakdown of most objects.

The Difference Between Weathering And Erosion

Since the causes of weathering include erosion, it needs to be addressed and clarified before we can examine the different types of weathering.

Erosion can be a direct result of weathering and have the same impact on the environment. Atmospheric conditions (weather) can also be responsible for this occurrence. As a result, it is essential to understand how it differs from weathering to eliminate any confusion.

The most significant difference between weathering and erosion rests on the location where the event takes place. In the case of weathering, the object gets weakened and broken down while it remains in the same position. 

In the case of erosion, the object is weakened and broken down by moving fragments or weathered parts of the object away from its original location.  

As we discuss the causes of weathering, the differences between the two processes will become much clearer.

What Causes Weathering?

There are a variety of ways in which the weathering breakdown process takes place. These various processes will determine the time, as well as the extent to which weathering occurs.

For example, the time it takes for different objects to break down completely will depend on individual variables. This can include the object's characteristics, the amount of time it is exposed to the elements, and the types of weather variables it is exposed to.

Weathering can broadly be divided into two categories:

  1. Mechanical (Physical) Weathering
  2. Chemical Weathering

Within these two sections, different processes and atmospheric elements are working in their unique ways to weaken and break down objects on the surface.

By examining how these different processes work within each of the two main categories, you will be able to get a much better understanding of how the various weathering processes work.

1) Mechanical (Physical) Weathering

Mechanical Weathering

Mechanical weather is the weakening and breakdown of objects like rocks, bricks, and concrete through a process called abrasion. (Abrasion is the process that use friction to break down an object through rubbing, scratching, and chaffing.)

A good example to demonstrate this process is the weathering of a rock which is exposed to the elements 24 hours a day. In this case, more than one element is involved in the mechanical weathering process.

Frost Weathering

During a rain shower, moisture is able to infiltrate small cracks within the rock. In regions where the temperature drops to below zero, the moisture within the rock freezes, which causes the cracks in the rock to expand.

Continuous freezing and melting of the moisture within the rock force the small cracks to keep on expanding and contracting. This leads to the weakening of the rock's structure, which will cause it to break apart over time.  

Thermal weathering

Regions experiencing extreme temperatures of heat and cold, like deserts, are prone to another form of physical weathering.

When a rock is exposed to extreme heat, the outer layer of the stone may expand at a faster rate than the inside. Similarly, during the cold nights, the rapid cooling down of the rock causes the outer layer to contract more quickly than the inside.

In the short-term, this will cause flaking and erosion of the outer layer of the rock. In the long term, however, the constant stress on the rock may cause it to break apart completely.

Other elements, including biological agents, are also responsible for mechanical weathering, but since we are focusing on weather-related weathering, we will disregard these additional factors for the purpose of this article.

2) Chemical Weathering

Unlike mechanical weathering, where abrasion is the primary factor, chemical weathering takes place as a result of slow changes in the composition of an object, primarily as a result of interaction with water.

For example, carbon dioxide within rainwater can cause a reaction within a rock to form carbonic acid, which dissolves some of the minerals inside that forms part of the structure. 

Carbonation And Dissolution

As previously mentioned, carbon dioxide in the rainwater can infiltrate a rock and combine to form a mild carbonic acid, which can dissolve some minerals within the rock.

To find out more about the importance of carbon dioxide, its impact on the weather and climate change, read the in-depth article here.

Chemical Weathering

Changes in the atmosphere due to the excess release of fossil fuels and volcanic eruptions lead to the buildup of large volumes of gases such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.

These gases combine with water drops in the air to form sulfuric and similar acids. These highly toxic acids cause a much faster deterioration of rock, bricks, and concrete due to solution weathering.

Oxidation

This form of weathering occurs when water moisture interacts with various metals within an object, which results in an oxidation process (better known as rusting) which weakens the item to the point where corrosion causes it to break apart eventually. 

For example, rocks rich in iron also interact with water, which leads to oxidation, resulting in corrosion and the potential breakup of the rock over time. The reddish color that is so synonymous with rust is clearly visible in rock fragments that went through this process.

Hydration

Porous rocks and similar objects with microscopic openings and cracks allow water to infiltrate and saturate them, increasing the total volume of the object.

A fully hydrated object causes stress on the already rigid structure of a rock or artifact. This can lead to a form of mechanical weathering where the additional stress can cause an object to fracture.

This increase in volume is mainly due to water interacting with a substance within a rock to change into another substance with an increased volume. Examples include anhydrite turning into gypsum and hematite turning into limonite.

Although classified as erosion, some forms of erosion are caused by weather elements and are the direct result of weathering. Therefore they are relevant and need to be included. After all, they are part of the overarching weathering process due to the weather.

3) Wind Erosion

One of the weather elements responsible for some of the most extensive weathering and eroding the landscape is wind erosion.

Wind Erosion

In short, wind erosion is the removal of loose or partly loosened soil and sand from one location to another. It can take place in areas where natural or human-made weathering of the landscape created loose and exposed particles on the surface.

It is a very natural process that is forever changing the landscape in dry and sandy areas like deserts and semi-arid regions.  

What is more disconcerting is the removal of soil and sand that had been exposed due to human interference.  Activities like deforestation, the removal of vegetation from coastal areas, and along riverbanks are now exposing large areas to wind potential wind erosion.

This causes long-term damage to the environment as topsoil necessary for plants and crops to grow is carried away by the wind. The removal of soil from areas along riverbanks and coastal areas allows water to further erode and change entire landscapes. 

You may not realize just how important wind is and that it is one of the main driving forces of weather and responsible for reshaping entire landscapes. If you need any convincing, just read about gale force winds and the destructive power of wind in a tornado or cyclone.

The Effects Of Weathering

You see the effects of weathering all around you without even realizing it. When you look at a mountain with its foothills, you look at the effects of weathering. If you look at the stunning rock formations in the desert or at the coast, you are also viewing the effects of weathering.

Although we can see the effects of weathering in broken or worn-down stones and rocks, as well as human-made objects like bricks and concrete in worn-down infrastructures and ruins, the best example of weathering is the sight of a huge mountain with its foothills.

Transformation And Molding Of The Landscape

The typical image of a mountain we see today is the result of millions of years of weathering. Tectonic plate activity or magma movement causes a piece of rock or magma to be pushed up high above the earth's crust.

Mountains

The massive mountain that just formed is still just a piece of rock towering into the sky. It is immediately exposed to the element, however, causing all the different types of weathering we discussed in earlier sections to start "eating away" at it.

As rocks are weakened and fragmented at the surface on top of the mountain, pieces started rolling down the sides while erosion breaks them down even further. At the bottom, they accumulate and are weathered and broken up even further.

Over time, a combination of erosion and infiltration & breakdown by biological agents turns the small fragments of rock into the fertile soil/sediment that forms the green foothills we find today at the bottom of a mountain. This whole process can take millions of years or more to complete.

Valleys and Canyons

Weathering can occur on relatively flat surfaces as well. Many of the valleys and canyons we see today are the result of weathering and erosion that slowly created their own path through the rock, leaving some spectacular landscapes behind.

Not all surfaces are created equal. This is very evident as vast flat regions got exposed to weather elements long ago. Rocks that were more vulnerable to weathering than their neighbors got exposed fairly quickly (in geological terms).

Grand Canyon

This may be due to the rock's porous structure or the fact that it contains metals/minerals that combine with rainwater to weaken its structure. These rocks weaken and weather away over time, which left indentations all over these flat regions with the help of wind erosion.

When these areas received a fair amount of rain, especially on a very slight incline, the rainwater would have looked for the easiest runoff area possible. As the water followed the path of least resistance, the weathered indentations on the surface became an easy target.

The water followed a path from one indentation to another as it started creating its own runoff pathway. Over time these paths became more established as the water began to erode the rock underneath it away.

Today, we see the result of millions of years of the continuous process just described, slowly but persistently craving out the landscapes we are familiar with. It is an example of the power of weathering and erosion consistently and repeatedly applied over a million years.

Old Infrastructure And Ruins

The same type of weathering that is responsible for the eroding and breakdown of stone, also affect the infrastructure of buildings.

Bricks, concrete, and wood commonly used in the construction of buildings are also subject to both mechanical and chemical weathering. Human-made building blocks of solid infrastructures like brick and concrete are even more susceptible to weathering than rock. 

As a result, weathering takes place much faster on these objects than on stone. If not properly treated and maintained, bricks and concrete can start to show signs of weathering over a few decades and fragment and completely break down over a couple of centuries.

You see the evidence of this accelerated form of weathering when you visit ghost towns in rural areas that were abandoned decades or centuries ago. You will quickly notice the various degrees of weathering, depending on the types of building material that were used.

Teotihuacan Pyramids in Mexico

On the other hand, when you visit the ancient ruins build by civilizations that existed thousands of years ago, you will be surprised at how well some of these infrastructures stood the test of time, even in conditions conducive to weathering and erosion.   

Because these ancient civilizations used natural rock and stone to build their structures, some of which were huge and detailed, it was able to withstand the weathering and erosion processes much better than today's modern building materials.

Just look at the pyramids of the ancient Mayans in Mexico and Central America, as well as the structures built by the Incas in Central America. Their well-preserved ruins are a testament to their resilience to extensive weathering and erosion over thousands of years.

Weathering Effects On The Human Body

You all would have heard an elderly person referred to as having a "weathered face." The same applies to people who are unfortunate enough to "living it rough" on the streets.

Even the human body doesn't escape the weathering effects of the elements, specifically those people who are directly exposed to the elements throughout the day. And it is our bodies' skin that gets hit the hardest.

Over time, continuous exposure to sun and dry air cause a variety of skin conditions. One of the most common effects of years of sun exposure is severely wrinkled & dry skin that occurs at different ages, depending on the individual and amount of time spent in the sun.

As we all know, there are more dangerous consequences for sun exposure as well. Sunspots, cracked skin, and more severe conditions like solar keratosis and skin cancer are all the result of extensive exposure to the sun.

Continuous exposure to weather elements affects other parts of the body as well, but then we start moving away from the weathering process, so that is not relevant to this article.

Conclusion

You will now have a clear understanding of what exactly weathering is, how it is formed, and how the different types of weathering work together to weaken and break up an object.

You will also understand why weathering and erosion are so closely related and often get confused with each other. Although they are not the same process, they often go hand-in-hand, and in many cases, the weather creates the ideal conditions for erosion to take place.

I trust this post was able to answer any questions you might have regarding weathering and how it occurs.

Never miss out again when another interesting and helpful article is released and stay updated, while also receiving helpful tips & information by simply  clicking on this link .

Until next time, keep your eye on the weather!

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