March 16, 2010 Issue

Physics To Go 93 - Winter 2010 snow cover

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Physics in Your World

Feeling that Cold Wind? Here's Why image
Image credit: NASA; image source; larger image

Feeling that Cold Wind? Here's Why

This February 13 snow cover analysis confirms what much of the United States experienced this winter: even states that don't often see snow have seen snow. Before you conclude that the Earth is cooling, check out Feeling that Cold Wind? Here's Why.

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Physics at Home

Nebraska Astronomy Applet Project: Basic Coordinates and Seasons Lab

Winter's frozen onslaught upon the northern hemisphere comes to an end when we receive more direct light from the sun. The days begin lengthening during the winter solstice, and on the spring equinox (the first day of spring) the length of the day and night will be equivalent. Read more about what causes the seasons here.

See for yourself how the angle of sunlight changes during the year due to the tilt of the Earth with the Nebraska Astronomy Applet Project: Basic Coordinates and Seasons Lab. Try entering your latitude and comparing it to your experience.


From Physics Research

The Arctic Oscillation image
image credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response System, Goddard Space Flight Center; image source; larger image

The Arctic Oscillation

Great Britain is usually exempt from the cold winter weather in other countries of the same latitude. (Warm air from the Gulf Stream keeps temperatures mild; read more here.) However, as the image above shows, Britain's winter was much colder than usual. One reason for this change is The Arctic Oscillation, the process of alternating pressure regions in the northern hemisphere. For more on Britain's recent and upcoming weather, check out this article from the Guardian discussing El Nino.

Worth a Look

Atmospheric Dry Spell Eases Global Warming

This article from NPR offers insight into a few factors affecting global temperatures. For more on how changing temperatures might affect you, see these pages on stronger hurricanes (NOVA) and the nor'easters (NOAA).

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