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IQ Weather Homeschool Extra: An Old Weather Forecasting Trick!

During the spring and summer months, as the air heats up, the chance for storms climbs. But how do you know if the air is hot enough to create thunderstorms? IQ Weather knows!

One tool that meteorologists use is the data that comes from weather balloons.  In fact, lesson number 23 in our weather course takes you on a field trip to a National Weather Service balloon launch so you can see where this information comes from!  We call the end product and upper air sounding!

Upper air soundings, give us a lot of information about the air overhead, including a variety of indices that we use to measure the risk for severe weather. The temperature and humidity profile is plotted on a graph called a Skew T.  Today, we are going to focus on two pieces of data that can, when tell you how hot the air must become for storms to develop, and whether or not that is likely.

The first bit of information on the sounding that we’ll focus on is called the MaxT, or forecast maximum...

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IQ WEATHER: The Warm Pacific Weather Pattern

In IQ Weather course, we talk about how ocean water temperatures influence our weather patterns!  Homeschoolers need to understand that water has a powerful impact on how energy is distributed around the planet!

Remember, the ocean covers a little more than 71% of the Earth’s surface. Water heats and cools at half the speed of the air. So, it takes a long time for the water to heat up…and a long time for it to cool off.

As a result, once an area of the ocean becomes warmer than a surrounding area, it stays that way for quite a while before it cools off and changes.

In the picture below, you can see where the warmer than normal water is located around the earth today. You might notice a large area of warmer water over the central and western Pacific Ocean. Right now, that warm water is lowering the atmospheric pressure in that region and creating a large area of low pressure that is “stuck” over the warmer water.

Until that water pattern changes...

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