Monday, March 19, 2007

Predict The Weather As Well As The Guy On TV

by Madison Lockwood

The weather resources on the Internet are many and varied. They range from highly sophisticated dedicated sites to national newsfeeds that produce fairly comprehensive weather reports, to regional news organizations that feature weather as part of their online news service. These can be from TV and radio stations or local newspapers. In addition, the major search engines have a weather feature that allows you to consult for forecasts in your local area.

In all cases, however, their weather information is gathered principally from national sources - in almost all cases, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. We're going to review here the principal dedicated weather sites online, and give a quick critique to what the search engines and national news sites provide.

Perhaps the best known dedicated commercial weather site is, a spin-off of the cable television network The Weather Channel. This website allows you to punch in your zip code for local weather, or a city/town name for some other location. The site will give you temperature readings, wind chill and precipitation forecasts. It will provide forecasts on an hour-by-hour basis, for the weekend, and will peer into the future with a ten-day forecast on one page. Graphics include satellite photos and Doppler radar representations of storm movements.

Much of this information is gathered from the NOAA's National Weather Service website. Here you will find "official" U.S. weather, marine, fire and aviation forecasts, warnings, climate forecasts and information about meteorology at The NOAA has a massive network of weather stations nationwide, providing readouts for highly localized areas. It's also user friendly, with a wealth of visual information provided by satellites and other graphics tools. There is a vast amount of marine weather data available here as well.

The Weather Underground ( is a spin-off of the University of Michigan's weather website. Weather Underground is a commercial site peppered with advertising that presents its forecasts based on zip code, city, or on a clickable U.S. map. It also has international forecasts - click by country - and a comprehensive list of maps on its home page that show national trends for such factors as temperature, wind, visibility, precipitation, snow depth, etc. Register with them and send ten dollars and they'll email you your daily forecast.

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor's weather lab: is among the pioneers of online weather products. Currently, they maintain a quality national weather forecast site - but perhaps their most valuable resource for weather addicts is their list of 300 links to weather related sites.

Intellicast ( is an advertiser supported national site that will also email you your daily forecast. Their site offers a clickable map and the usual categories of satellite and long range forecasts. is another of the lesser national websites that is exclusively for weather. Their site has an interesting map of worldwide conditions that is constantly changing as the center of their homepage. Along with the usual localized and national weather feeds, the site offers weathercams, tides and currents, and commentary from the Farmers Almanac.

Other dedicated locations include and Weatherbug offers downloadable software that provides your local weather forecast and weather report. Yahoo and Google both provide weather forecast features, as do the national news feeds. will provide international weather news and five day forecasts by location. USA Today has global forecasts and information on meteorological topics such as global warming at:

Finally, Unisys has chosen to showcase its Weather Processor analysis software package by building a website for global weather information at Not something you'd expect just looking at their main homepage. Apparently even people who do tech consulting and enterprise servers need to know if it's going to rain.

Madison Lockwood is a customer relations associate, specializing in small business development, for Apollo Hosting. Apollo Hosting provides website hosting, ecommerce hosting, vps hosting, and web design services to a wide range of customers.

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Is Global Warming caused by greenhouse gases or by the Sun?

by Per Strandberg

Most scientists believe that the current global warming is caused by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases and that the most important of these gases is Carbon Dioxide or CO2.

They also believe that the Sun's influence for this warming is very small. We now know that the irradiance or "heat transfer" from the Sun to the Earth has varied relative little during recent decades. Therefore the conclusion that most scientists have done is that the resent warming must be man-made, this is because they haven't found any other reasonable explanation.

However what we know over how much a specific increase of CO2 has on global temperature is poor. The reason in that the knowledge of how greenhouse gases affect cloud formation is mostly down to speculations. Cloud formation physics is quite a complicated process to explain with many factors.

So, rather than having a solid theoretical and measured basis for how much man-made greenhouse gases affect the climate, the made estimation is mostly down to deduction.

They argue: We know how much the temperature has increased so therefore we can calculate how much a specific increase in greenhouse gases will increase the global temperature in the future. We have done this through deduction as we already have attributed the known increase to be greenhouse driven.

However scientists who study the Sun have long noted similarities between solar activity and terrestrial weather patterns.

Also the weather changes the last century is not something unique. Given the relative small changes in the observed irradiance "heat emitted from the Sun", those changes in temperature during past centuries are hard to explain if you don't include some other types of influence from the Sun.

It was not until the Danish scientist Henrik Svensmark suggested that cosmic radiation could influence cloud cover that a plausible explains for this apparent correlation was given.

Here is this theory!

When the Sun is very active, as it is now, the solar wind and the solar magnetic field are both strong. This in turn shields the Earth from high energy particles coming from the cosmos, usually from particles which were once created in supernova explosions. This affects low cloud cover formation as the radiation create ions which seeds cloud forming water droplets. During times when there are many high energy particles reaching low altitudes there are more low cloud cover and the Earth cools. When there are few high energy particles penetrating to low altitudes then less clouds form and the Earth warms.

Usually clouds higher up in the atmosphere are almost always ionized from both low and high energy particles because both those types of particles penetrate high altitudes at all time.

The created variations are only in the low altitude cloud cover which is affected by very high energy cosmic particles.

Recently an experiment called SKY (Cloud in Danish) was made by Svensmark which conclusively confirmed this cloud forming mechanism experimentally and that this type of cosmic ionization has an important seed effect on clouds. Links between low cloud cover variations and high energy particles intensity have also now been confirmed by satellite studies.

Per Strandberg has a Master Degree in Applied Physics & Electronics. He is the webmaster of a unique website which gives visitors comprehensive information, with graphics and key data that deal with current theories on global warming.

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