Monday, October 28, 2013

Five Ways to Predict the Weather

    I love the Weather Channel.  Being able to flip on the TV and find out what the weather is right now, and what it will be in the future.  However if I am out in the woods camping or hiking, or if shtf, then I don't have the Weather Channel to turn to.  As a result, one of the skills I have been working on learning is how to predict the weather from the natural environment around us.  It is a skill everyone can learn and pick up pretty easily, and maybe you can even impress your friends with it.

5 Ways to Predict the Weather:
1. Watch the Clouds

     -Cirrus Clouds: These clouds form high up in the atmosphere and generally are first seen on nice days. They are an indication of nice weather currently. However, these clouds indicate that there is a change in the weather coming. Cirrus clouds generally mean bad weather is coming in the next 36 hours.

     -Altocumulus clouds, which look like fish scales, are another indicater of changing weather and bad weather to come in about 36 hours.

     -Cumulus Clouds: These bright white puffy clouds can have all sorts of different meanings. Rows of cirrocumulus clouds high in the atmosphere are generally an indicator of good weather to come.

     However, sheets of altocumulas clouds, which will cover large areas of the sky, can be an indication of afternoon thunderstorms if you see them in the morning. (These are the fish scale clouds.)

     Meanwhile low hanging cumulus clouds (Stratocumulus) will often come in clumps and rows like the cirrocumulus clouds and indicate nice weather in the immediate future.

     -Stratus Clouds: These grey low hanging clouds, will generall cover the whole sky. People will generally associate these clouds with gloomy and rainy days. Not without reason either. These clouds tend to come with low pressure systems, moisture and rain. These clouds will indicate rain and stormy weather for at least the rest of the day, and potentially for days to come.

     -Cumulonimbus: These clouds will start out looking like your regular cottonball cumulus clouds. However, what you want to look out for is vertical growth in the clouds. If the clouds tend to be growing bigger and size and heading up as well, they mean storms to come. These are the clouds you see with summer thunderstorms, and they can even spawn tornadoes.

     Cloud cover can also be a good way to help indicate temperature, especially in the winter. Cloudy skies at night, mean warmer weather, because the clouds will help prevent warm air from escaping at night. Alternatively, a lack of clouds will allow heat to radiate out, and it will mean colder weather.

2. Red Sky Rhyme
"Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning."

     We've all heard the rhyme before, and surprisingly the rhyme does hold merit. The reasoning behind this rhyme is pretty simple and gives you a good way to figure out how what the weather is that is coming.

     When a high pressure system moves through an area, it stirs up dust particles into the air. The result of more particles in the air causes it to look redder when light travels through the atmosphere during the early and late hours of the day.

     Since weather systems move from west to east, this gives us the ability to determine where the high pressure system is at, and where it is going.

     As a result red sky at night means that there is a high pressure system to the west, and it will be traveling towards you. This means you will have good weather the next day because the high pressure system will be in your area.

     This also means that if there is a red sky in the morning, then the high pressure system has already moved past you, and when a high pressure system moves through, generally a low pressure system and bad weather will follow it.

3. Take a Look at the Moon

    Similar to the red sky rhyme above, the color of the moon can show you the same kind of information. If the mon is reddish or pale, it means there is dust in the air, stirred up by a high pressure system.

     If the moon is bright and sharply in focus, it is likely because low pressure has cleared the dust out of the air. The low pressure means bad weather is on the way.

     Another sign to look out for is a ring around the moon. A ring around the moon is caused by cirrostratus clouds. These types of clouds are usually associated with warm fronts and moisture, and that means there is likely rain on the way within the next few days.

4. Which Way Does the Wind Blow

     The direction that the wind is blowing can tell us quite a bit. In conjunction with a barometer, it can tell us a lot. It can help us predict the weather. With a simple Wind/Barometer table you can use the wind and this simple instrument to figure out the weather that is coming without ever having to watch the weather channel.

5. Animal Behavior

     The flight of birds can give you an idea of the atmospheric conditions outside, and because low pressure and high pressure play such important roles in weather conditions it can give you an idea of the weather.

     Birds are sensative to atmospheric pressure and so will change their flight patterns depending on the pressure. Falling pressure can cause discomfort, so birds will fly lower. This means that bad weather is imminent. Further more, large numbers of birds roosting on power lines can be an indication of swiftly falling pressure, a storm on the way.

     However, one should also note that this may not hold true in the winter, because often times large numbers of birds will roost on power lines in the winter, because the power lines are warm, and therefore keep the birds warm.

     Alternatively birds flying high in the air is usually a sign of high pressure and fair weather.

     Crickets are a great way to figure out how to figure out the temperature outside. Because crickets are cold blooded, their muscle reactions and how fast the reactions can take place will be affected by the temperature outside. This means that if you can hear a cricket, you can figure out the temperature outside with a simple formula.

For Fahreneheit:
      Count the number of cricket chirps in fourteen seconds and then add forty to the number and you get the temperature.

30 Chirps + 40 = 70 Degrees Fahrenheit

     For Celsius, count the number of chirps in twenty five seconds, divide it by three, and then add 4.

48 Chirps/3 + 4 = 20 Degrees Celsius


     Know any more tricks to tell the weather? Share them with us in the comments!


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