Rains that are almost biblical, heat waves that don’t end, tornadoes that strike in savage swarms—there’s been a change in the weather lately. What’s going on?
The biggest dust storm in living memory rolls into Phoenix on July 5, 2011, reducing visibility to zero. Desert thunderstorms kicked up the mile-high wall of dust and sand. Image © Daniel Bryant/National Geographic
A storm of comets around a star near our own, called Eta Corvi, is sawn in this artist’s conception. Evidence for this barrage comes from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, whose infrared detectors picked up indications that comets were recently torn to shreds after colliding with a rocky body. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Tim Samaras has a storm in his headlights and the world’s fastest high-resolution camera in the trailer behind. Can it catch lightning in the act? Above: On the highway with the Kahuna in tow, Samaras hunts for the elusive shot. This summer he’s on the chase again, with new, nimbler equipment. Image © Carsten Peter / National Geographic
After the severe fires in the U.S., now a violent wind storm system called derecho, produced hurricane force winds that gusted as high as 91 miles per hour from the Midwest to the Ohio Valley, and all the way to the Mid-Atlantic Coast on June 29.
When I first spotted this storm, 17 mi (27 km) north of Fort Morgan, Colorado, it appeared to be a mesacyclone. However, by the time I gathered my photography equipment and drove toward it, I could tell that it had changed quite a bit and was no longer so threatening. Photographer: Debi Bratrsovsky; Debi’s Web site
A University of Toronto-led team of astronomers has observed extreme brightness changes on a nearby brown dwarf that may indicate a storm grander than any seen yet on a planet. Because old brown dwarfs and giant planets have similar atmospheres, this finding could shed new light on weather phenomena of extra-solar planets.
How does a hurricane form? Although a complete picture is still being researched, insight into this process might be gleaned by watching the above time lapse movie of the formation of Hurricane Irene, a large storm system currently threatening the eastern seaboard of the USA.
One of the challenges in making this video, was trying to get good storm and star shots. The opportunity doesn’t come along very often, the storm has to be moving the right speed and the lightning can overexpose the long exposures. video by Randy Halverson