How Does Weather Work?
By Matthew Bunn
Weather Occurs in many ways and forms and can have many different impacts on humans and the environment. I hope that this paper helps increase your understanding of these natural phenomenons, so that you understand how they are created, and when they do.
Lightning is a result of the positive and negative charges in the atmosphere and on the ground. Lightning occurs when the particles in the clouds become negatively charged do to movement in the atmosphere, and collide with the positively charged particles on the ground. This creates light, heat and sound, the heat can kill a human. Lightning occurs during or before rainstorms and form near cumulonimbus clouds.
Tornadoes are columns of strong, fast air that destroy everything in there path until they wear out. Tornadoes are formed when cold and warm air interact and create convection. This causes the air to swirl and create a super cell that then touches down on the ground to form a tornado. Tornadoes can occur almost anywhere, and always form during a rain storm.
Hurricanes are severe weather systems that cause severe flooding, and high winds that cause large scale damage and life loss. Hurricanes are formed when pockets of low pressure near the surface of tropical water are rushed by areas of high pressure. This creates an rotating body of wind and rain that moves with the strong wind patterns. Hurricanes are fueled by warm humid water, and disappear over land. Hurricanes are tropical storms that attack the Oceans.
Blizzards occur when high winds cause snowfall to increase and force the snow to blow in high winds. Blizzards normally result in low visibility, and can cause white outs, and other snow related problems. In the US snowstorms are usually created when the Jet Stream dips too far south allowing the conflict of warm humid air with dry cold air.
Rain is a form of precipitation where water falls from clouds to the ground. Rain falls when the water vapor in the clouds condensates and turns into water droplets. This then falls to the ground causing rain. Rain can be a natural source water for plants, and is the main part of the water cycle, Rain occurs during many of the other severe weather phenomenons like tornadoes, hurricanes, and thunderstorms.
Heat waves are periods of time in which an area gets high enough heat for a long enough period of time that it become very harmful to humans and animals. When an area gets a period of direct sunlight, and is combined with high humidity to a point of complete heat with little cooling, it is under a heat wave. These are considered to be one of the most deadly weather type.
Sleet is a snow like substance that is make of frozen rain droplets (not snow). Sleet is similar to frozen rain in the way is acts, and the way that it is created. Sleet is created when snow that is falling in the upper atmosphere is heated and melts, and is then frozen again as it is falling to the ground. Sleet is different from frozen rain in the way that it freezes for a longer time once it first melts.
Hail storms occur when thunderstorms produce hail, a small to large chunk of ice that falls from the sky. These pieces of ice can cause damage to properties and people who are outside. Hail can smash windows, and act like small rocks falling from the sky. Hail storms are formed updrafts and downdrafts within cumulonimbus clouds cause water molecules of freeze and solidify, creating hailstones and other forms of solid precipitation.
Dust Storms are large collections of sand and dust picked up in the air by wind and forced into a cloud like formation. Dust storms only occur in dry areas, not necessarily the dessert, and can cause damage to peoples eyes and lungs. They are formed over time due to the continuous build up of sand and dust that are suspended in the air due to wind. When enough particles are collected, and when a strong enough wind comes, these conditions can cause the particles to fall, and be blown with the wind, creating a cloud of moving sand.
Water Spouts are tornadoes or, non-supercell tornadoes. that develop over bodies of water. They are created when a tornado moves over a body of water, or the tornado formation process, naturally occurs over water. (See "Tornado", for more information). These storms rarely cause much damage, but if fed enough, can have hurricane strength winds.
As you can see, severe weather can produce a major effect on the world and the environment. So it is important to understand what causes this and understand how to predict / prepare for weather.