Archive for March, 2011

Ozone – Good & Bad
March 25, 2011

        

 

A good way to remember this is ozone is GOOD up high, BAD nearby. 

 

 

Ground level ozone can irritate the lungs, especially for those with suffer from emphysema and asthma.  Upper level ozone is good because it blocks out harmful UV rays.  

 

 

We are now in ozone season, and days with warm temperatures, sunny skies and light winds will trigger the formation of ozone on the ground. 

  

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Why We Have Seasons
March 21, 2011

 

The Earth’s seasons are not caused by the differences in the distance from the Sun throughout the year (these differences are extremely small). The seasons are the result of the tilt of the Earth’s axis.

The Earth’s axis is tilted from perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic by 23.45°. This tilting is what gives us the four seasons of the year – spring, summer, autumn (fall) and winter. Since the axis is tilted, different parts of the globe are oriented towards the Sun at different times of the year.

Summer is warmer than winter (in each hemisphere) because the Sun’s rays hit the Earth at a more direct angle during summer than during winter and also because the days are much longer than the nights during the summer. During the winter, the Sun’s rays hit the Earth at an extreme angle, and the days are very short. These effects are due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis.

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Latest On Our Drought
March 21, 2011

 

Click image to view Monday’s webcast.

How the Ocean Affects Our Weather
March 18, 2011

 

As we move into the spring season, the Gulf of Mexico starts playing a bigger role in our weather.  Soon we’ll have sea breeze thunderstorms and, of course, the heat and humidity will make the days somewhat uncomfortable.  Click the image above to view how the ocean affects southeast Texas. 

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Ocean Floor Affects Tsunami Propagation
March 14, 2011

As tsunami waves travel across ocean basins they are only centimeters high, but extend down to the ocean floor (unlike traditional waves which are only surface features). As the tsunami waves approach the coast, the shallowing ocean floor pushes the water mass upwards. The quicker the ocean floor transitions from deep to shallow, the greater potential for a higher wave height. The epicenter of the earthquake that triggered the recent Japanese tsunami was very close to shore, though, which reduced the amount of the water column that is displaced and the overall tsunami height.

These images show features of the ocean floor depth (or bathymetry) from NOAA’s ETOPO-1 dataset. The first image shows the entire Western Pacific basin and the second shows the eastern coast of Japan. Notice how abruptly the Japanese islands rise out of the ocean. Other coastal Asian areas have much more gradual slopes. The islands and mountain ranges throughout the ocean, visible in this imagery, also affect the tsunami travel time and speed. In the open ocean, a tsunami can travel at speeds up to 500 mph. This momentum is what creates such a destructive force as the wave moves inland.

This is an animation showing the tsunami moving through the Pacific Ocean:

Top Five Strongest Earthquakes
March 11, 2011

Today’s 8.9 magnitude earthquake ranks as the fifth strongest recorded since 1900.  Click image to get the details on the other five and where they occurred.

Your Spring Forecast
March 9, 2011

 

Click image to view your spring forecast:

Are You Saying I’m Funny Like a Clown?
March 3, 2011

I don’t report too often, but I had a great time shooting a rodeo bull fighter (clown) story at the rodeo. If TV ever fails me, I may have a chance as a barrel man.  Click picture to watch video:

An Extremely Dry February
March 1, 2011

 

We received .69″ of rain for the month in Houston, putting us in 8th place. 

Top 10
Driest
0.03 1916
0.17 1954
0.38 1976
0.45 1937
0.55 1974
0.63 1925
0.68 1947
0.69 2011
0.77 1962
0.80 1999

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