What makes a heat wave?

Question Answered by Nicole Desmet, Meteorologist, National Weather Service-Pocatello, Idaho A heat wave is simply a period of prolonged period of very hot, uncomfortable temperatures. Typically a heat wave lasts two or more days. Several factors can influence how hot temperatures can get, where temperatures will be warmest and how long it will be that…

What are your favorite experiments?

Answered by Alana Jensen, Environmental Educator, INL ESER Program I have so many favorite experiments, but here are a couple of fun ones to do in the summertime. Blow Bubbles!You will need: Dishwashing soap, glycerin, water, large jar, liquid measuring cup, pipe cleaners, pliers Measure the volume of your jar by filling the jar with…

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 read an article about how kokanee eat and I’m confused. What is a gill raker? And how does the food get from the gill raker into the fish’s stomach?

Answered by Gregg Losinski, Conservation Educator First things first.   In Idaho, when we are talking about kokanee, we are actually talking about the same fish that we also call a sockeye salmon.   These are the fish that are famous for turning bright red when the time comes for them to spawn.  (Spawning is the way…

Are there any ecological impacts from the dam and power plant system in Idaho Falls, especially relating to fish movement across the concrete barrier at the Broadway Bridge?

Great question about dams!   While dams change the ecological makeup of any river that they are placed in, their biggest impact for fish comes in relation to movement.  Unless a dam is specifically built to allow fish to move both downstream and upstream, it becomes a barrier.  To some fish this is more critical than…

What is the difference between sleet and hail?

Question Answered by Tim Axford, Meterologist, National Weather Service-Pocatello, ID. HAIL Usually occurs during the spring and summer but could occur during all seasons. When thunderstorms form, air moves from near the ground up into the sky, sometimes as high as 50,000 ft up! This air moving upwards will carry drops of water with it.…

When getting coffee, the people at Starbucks ask, “Do you want to leave room for sugar and cream?” Do I need to leave space if I just add sugar?

Question answered by Catherine Riddle, PhD, Radiochemist, Idaho National Laboratory The chemistry of coffee is complex to start with so adding sugar, milk or both makes it even more so. There are many systems at work in a cup of coffee including density, inter-molecular spacing, temperature and concentration. Believe it or not, there is a…