Meteorologists Did "Robot Journalism" Before It Was Cool

Dennis Mersereau · 03/19/14 08:30AM

Something that shook-up the media more than the media getting shaken-up in Monday morning's 4.4 earthquake in Los Angeles is the revelation that the Los Angeles Times has a set of code written to automatically post an article when the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that an earthquake occurred in California.

ISS Commander Takes Beautiful Pic of NYC from Space

Dennis Mersereau · 03/18/14 06:59PM

Astronaut Koichi Wakata took this photo of New York City from the International Space Station today, taking advantage of clear skies before the rain moves in tomorrow. While this picture of NYC is pretty cool, it doesn't come close to the other breathtaking views Wakata has shared from 230 miles up.

Today's Dust Storm in Texas Showed Up on Radar and Satellite

Dennis Mersereau · 03/18/14 04:13PM

A strong cold front moving across northwestern Texas earlier today brought with it 30 to 40 MPH winds that caused yet another dust storm (called a "haboob") that was large and dense enough to show up on both radar (above) and satellite imagery (below).

Infographic: Why Do Sleet & Freezing Rain Fall Instead of Snow?

Dennis Mersereau · 03/18/14 01:30PM

One of the biggest issues this winter was (and continues to be) the incredible amounts of ice that fell in lieu of snow across much of the southern United States. Parts of Texas have seen several major ice storms in the last few months, and locations along the Gulf Coast saw over an inch of solid ice from sleet and freezing rain at the end of January — including Mobile, Alabama, which saw its worst winter storm in over two decades.

8-14 Day Temperature Forecast: Miserable

Dennis Mersereau · 03/17/14 01:22PM

Areas west of the Rockies will see unseasonably warm and dry weather through the end of March, while the eastern two-thirds of the United States will continue to see temperatures below where they should be this time of year.

3D Radar Shows Storm in Texas Producing Golf Ball Size Hail

Dennis Mersereau · 03/15/14 06:12PM

The above 3D radar image shows a supercell thunderstorm near Abilene, Texas this evening as it reportedly produces hail up to the size of golf balls. The storm has a great structure — a long anvil extending towards the northeast away from the main convection, cloud tops that reach over 40,000 feet, and two cores (main areas of heavy rain and hail) that are split in half by the storm's updraft.

This Winter Was a Hot and Snowy Mess

Dennis Mersereau · 03/15/14 10:00AM

While the east dealt with incessant snowfall — with some areas setting all-time snowfall records — the west saw one of the warmest and driest winters ever recorded. The period from December 1 through February 28 (known as meteorological winter) was the warmest ever recorded in California, while the lack of precipitation during those three months caused the third driest winter on record in California, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Why Malaysia Airlines 370 Is Likely Nothing Like Air France 447

Dennis Mersereau · 03/14/14 02:30PM

As investigators try to locate the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that mysteriously vanished without a trace last weekend, pundits are also at a loss as they try to come up with theories to satisfy their editors and producers. Since the flight went missing on Saturday, talking heads and writers have desperately tried drawing parallels between this incident and the 2009 crash of Air France 447, but the two events are likely unrelated aside from the fact that both happened over water.

Cloud Streets in the Atlantic Ocean

Dennis Mersereau · 03/14/14 12:46PM

A cool feature of strong cold fronts as they move over open water is the large area of cloud streets they can leave behind. As the cold, dry air interacts with the warmer ocean water, it creates narrow bands of convection (rising and sinking air) parallel to the direction of the wind. If conditions are right, these narrow bands of convection sometimes appear in the form of long, thin rows of cumulus clouds known as "horizontal convective rolls," or cloud streets.