It is said that there are only two jobs you can work at and get paid for being consistently wrong. One is that of a politician. The other is that of a weatherman. To be fair, predicting the weather is no easy task, even with all the data that is available. Weather is exceptionally changeable. It also can be quite strange at times.
The following are examples of really strange weather and weather-related events. These are fun facts about the Earth we live on.
* Major forest fires can and do produce their own weather. This includes something called a fire tornado or fire whirl. Rapidly spinning funnels of smoke, ash, and embers can be lofted far above the ground in one of these whirlwinds, and these can start new fires at considerable distance from the forest fire that spawned them.
* An apple is a fairly accurate representation of the earth. The skin represents the crust, the flesh represents the mantle, and the apple core represents the inner and outer cores of the earth. The crust, the part that forms all the solid rock on the surface of the world, has never been penetrated by man. Yet, it is very thin; only 4-15 miles thick.
* If the earth was reduced in size to that of a billiard ball, it would be as smooth as the surface of that billiard ball, despite the tallest mountains, deepest oceans, and deepest canyons. The oceans, which act as the weather regulators of the planet, contain a huge amount of water, though. If the earth was truly smooth and contained no mountains or canyons, the ocean would cover the entire planet with a single ocean that was two miles deep.
* There are many several recorded instances of frogs, fish, and other live animals falling from the sky. Sometimes this even occurs in locations where there are no clouds in the sky.
* Studies have shown that even a small thunderstorm contains more than 30 million gallons of water. Since there are over 1,500 thunderstorms occurring at any given second, if man was able to harness the water in thunderstorms, there would be no droughts and ending all droughts would take less than 10 minutes.
* The greatest natural wind speed ever recorded on earth happened in a tornado in Oklahoma in 1999. Wind speeds were recorded at an astounding 318 miles per hour.
* In the oceans, waves of over 100 feet have been recorded during fair weather, with no nearby storms contributing to the waves. These rogue waves have been known to capsize and sink ships.
* The temperatures of only the top foot of the oceans are responsible for the creation of hurricanes and typhoons.
* Water vapor is a far more abundant and efficient greenhouse gas than is carbon dioxide. According to the USGS, the atmosphere contains about 333 million cubic miles of water. According to NASA, the oceans of the world contain 321,003,271 cubic miles of water. Thus, there is more water in the atmosphere than in there is in all of the oceans. Yet, carbon dioxide makes up less than .04 of one percent (400 millionths) of the atmosphere.
What’s more, the more CO2 there is, the less warming occurs and this effect is logarithmic. This is basic information that people are rarely told outside of the classroom.
* The characteristic smell that people experience right after a rain is actually caused by bacteria.
* Lightning is complex and it occurs in a flash, literally. However, most cloud/ground lightning goes from the ground up to the cloud, rather than from the cloud to the ground. The return flash is just many times more brilliant, so that is the one we normally see.
* Lightning usually lasts no longer than a flash, but thunder rumbles for a long time because the light of lightning moves at the speed of light. The thunder, which is the sound of the passage of lightning, travels at the speed of sound. Light travels at about 186,000 miles per second and sound travels about 700 miles per hour. In fact, you can use this to tell how far a lightning strike is for you. After the flash, count the seconds. If it takes a little less than five seconds before you hear the thunder, the lightning struck about a mile away.
* If you think that the farther north you travel, the more snow will occur, think again. More snow falls in the Grand Canyon, Arizona, than in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which is far north of Arizona.
How about that for some interesting weather-related phenomena? Did you learn anything new?