We’ve been having a lot of wind this past week. What happens to make the wind speed faster than normal?

Question answered by Jason RichMeteorologist, NOAA ARL Field Research Division Spring is typically windy as we transition from the cool season to the warm season. Uneven heating of the Earth’s surface creates differences in atmospheric pressure across the globe. When differences in the pressure exist, winds flow from the high pressure to the low pressure.…

Does water reflect or refract light?

Answered by Alana Jensen, INL ESER Program Water is both a reflector and refractor of light. Let’s examine these properties of light separately. Reflection: Reflection is when light hits the surface of an object and then that light travels to our eyes so we can see. All materials reflect light to some extent, but a…

I know pronghorn drop their horns by the end of November, but when do pronghorns start growing new horns and when is horn growth complete?

Answered by Idaho Fish and Game biologist Pronghorn are quite a unique species. They grow horns that shed annually unlike other species that grow horns that get larger each year like bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Horns are different than antlers. Horns are made from a keratinous sheath that grows from a core of live…

How much does snow cover affect temperatures? Does snow reflect enough sunlight that it makes it colder?

Answered by John Hinsberger Meteorologist, National Weather Service-Pocatello, ID Office Daytime TemperaturesThe amount of incoming radiation from the sun that gets reflected back into space is known as albedo. Higher albedo means more of that radiation gets reflected back. Thus, less radiation can be absorbed by the surface, so temperature is affected. One of the…

Due to the fluctuations of the Earth’s temperature over time, who is to say that we aren’t currently living at the Earth’s natural temperature?

Question Answered by NOAA, Air Resources Laboratory, Field Research Division, Idaho Falls, ID The Earth’s climate does vary over time due to factors such as the movement of continents, large-scale volcanic activity, changes in the Earth’s orbit, and variations in the Sun’s energy output. Because of these changing factors, there is not one fixed temperature…