Posts Tagged ‘weather’


What was that really loud sound I heard last night? A cryoseismic boom!

by Maeve Clark on January 30th, 2019

Yep, that’s right.  That sound you heard was a ‘COOL’ weather phenomenon also called a cold boom.  Technically, it is known as a cryoseismic boom. A phenomenon reserved for only the coldest of temperatures and rare for the lower latitudes of the continental United States.  The boom sound is created by a cryoseism, which is a mini explosion within the ground caused by the rapid expansion of frozen water.

Cryoseisms usually occur when temperatures rapidly decrease from above freezing to subzero, and are more than likely to occur between midnight and dawn (during the coldest parts of night). In general, cryoseisms may occur 3 to 4 hours after significant changes in temperature. Perennial or seasonal frost conditions involved with cryoseisms limit these events to temperate climates that experience seasonal variation with subzero winters. Additionally, the ground must be saturated with water, which can be caused by snowmelt, rain, sleet or flooding. Geologically, areas of permeable materials like sand or gravel, which are susceptible to frost action are likelier candidates for cryoseisms. Following large cryoseisms, little to no seismic activity will be detected for several hours, indicating that accumulated stress has been relieved. (wikipedia)

The library has many fascinating books and dvds on weather and weather phenomena.  Come on down and borrow them.  Or if it’s too cold, you can stream documentaries from kanopy on extreme weather from the warmth and comfort of your home while sipping a delicious hot chocolate. If you seem a hear a loud boom between midnight and dawn, you need not fear an earthquake or an explosion.  It just the the ground crying out that it is too darn cold.  Stay warm everyone!

Is it going to snow tomorrow?

by Mary Estle-Smith on October 29th, 2015

Living in the Midwest, we all experience the ever changing weather and lament the sometimes frustrating inaccuracy of  forecasting that we experience, especially when trying to plan an event around upcoming weather. The Information Desk gets several questions per week about current and future weather.  We use sources like the National Weather Service as well as local media sites.

There are also many items in our collection that can help you to become a more informed observer of what is happening and  have a better understanding of meteorology as a science. These are just a few of the items you will find by searching “weather forecasting” in our catalog.  There are materials for readers of all levels on everything from weather folklore to experiments you can play with at home.  Check it out!! Here are a few examples:

Thunder and lightningIn Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future, Lauren Redniss tells the story of weather and humankind through the ages.  The author explores the headquarters of the National Weather Service and looks at the global and economic impact of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.  In addition to extensive research into her subject matter, the author also designed and produced the text, artwork and cover.

 

 forecastingFor the DIY weather people, Guide to Weather Forecasting  may be the book for you.  The aptly named author, Storm Dunlop includes  detailed information on causes of weather,  how to recognize clouds and interpret sky appearance, and explanations of weather systems and how they  change.  The book includes charts, photographs and diagrams amateur forecasters will find useful.  Give it a try, see if you can beat the “pros”!

71bwcGmvTcL__SX342_And finally, something better to watch on a screen than outside your window: Deadliest Tornadoes. This documentary examines the extremely deadly 2011 season to try to better predict tornadoes in the future.

 

 

 

Folklore, old wives’ tales, sayings and adages – do the facts support them?

by Maeve Clark on January 20th, 2015

Are there truths behind the folklore, proverbs and phrases that many of us hear growing up?  You know what I mean, like the woolly or fuzzy bear caterpillar, and if its black stripes predict it will be a colder winter than most.  As for the woolly bear, it is not the best prognosticator of the severity of the winter.  The woolly bear’s coloring, at least according to a post on the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office’s website, depends upon a number of variables. “The woolly bear caterpillar’s coloring is based on how long caterpillar has been feeding, its age, and species.  The better the growing season is the bigger it will grow.  This results in narrower red-orange bands in its middle.  Thus, the width of the banding is an indicator of the current or past season’s growth rather than an indicator of the severity of the upcoming winter.  Also, the coloring indicates the age of the woolly bear caterpillar.”

NYT 1.26.1913Many of the adages have to do with predicting the weather or some type of weather-based observation.  An expression I heard for the first time over the holidays was a green Christmas makes a fat churchyard.  I poked around on the Internet to find out just what it meant and to see if I could trace it back in time.  The most common reading of the phrase is that cold weather brings about fewer deaths.  The reasoning behind this was that cold weather killed off the germs or stalled disease that was more rampant in warm weather.  Or perhaps it was in warmer weather more folk circulated and came into contact with each other, thus spreading disease.  Either way, the cold, they thought, kept germs at bay and people at home.  Well, it turns out that cold weather or warm weather didn’t really have that much to do with the death rate at the holidays.  In fact as far back as 1913 The New York Times ran a piece disputing these nugget of weather lore based on a report from medical officers in London where a warm winter had not made for more deaths but fewer. The farthest back I could trace the adage was as an Irish seanfhocal, Nollag, ghlas, reilig mheith.

The library has a number of books of phrases and sayings and even a title devoted just to weather folklore,  Weather wisdom : being an illustrated practical volume wherein is contained unique compilation and analysis of the facts and folklore of natural weather prediction  by Albert Lee.  Are there old wives’ tales or adages that you use, weather-based or not?  And if there are, do any of them hold true? Please feel free to share them.