Meteorology: Predicting the Weather

November 22, 2022

Meteorology is the study of weather and prediction of weather based on observations and historical data. Extensively, it also covers climatology and atmospheric physics. Although weather can be beautiful, like a red cloud streaking across the sky during a sunset, or it can be unpleasant, like when your clothes are drenched with sweat and stick to you on a humid summer day. However, it can also be extremely dangerous, which is why the study of meteorology is important. It can even predict natural disasters like hurricanes.

To forecast weather, meteorologists use technology and conditions of the atmosphere for the given place or time. Because they are used to predict severe weather, weather warnings are vital.


When small drops of water condense, the base of a cloud is created. There are high clouds, middle clouds, and low clouds. High clouds form 6,000 meters above the ground and they are mostly ice crystals. Middle clouds form between 2,000-6,000 meters and are formed from water and ice crystals, while low clouds form between the ground and 2,000 meters and are almost always made up of raindrops. Nimbostratus clouds are ominously dark but aren’t the most common thunderhead clouds; those would be Cumulonimbus clouds. Looking like cotton, Cumulus clouds are the most prevalent cloud shape. 


Air is an agent of change. For instance, it can transport particles long distances from one place to another, all the way across the earth. Relative humidity is a measure of the concentration of water vapor in the air. When relative humidity is 100%, water begins to condense out of the air. This is why cold drinks “sweat.” This air is considered saturated, so it absorbs more vapor. For the water to condense, bits of dust, salt, or smoke are required for the molecules to stick to it. This particle-filled air can condense high in the atmosphere or on the ground or on objects. If a mass of air is compressed, work is done on it, and if it is done faster than the mass can transfer heat away, it is said to undergo adiabatic heating, which literally means adiabatic means without heat transfer. Adiabatic cooling is where the air mass expands and cools.


Mid-latitude cyclones are storm systems that sweep across land from east to west and typically travel thousands of miles. A thunderstorm starts with humid, unstable air rising, condensing and forming a cumulus cloud. The falling raindrops create a downdrift of cooler air, while the falling cool air and rising warm air makes a storm cell. Particle collisions within the cloud result in static charges. Eventually, the difference in charge ends in a discharge from one charged location to another. The lighting heats the air through which it passes, causing it to expand and contract rapidly. Thunder is the pressure wave created by this. When air circulates in a cumulonimbus cloud, it can form a funnel cloud that extends below the cloud. Once this funnel cloud reaches the ground it is called a tornado. These violent storms are most common in the plains of the United States, but can also occur in Australia and Asia. Tornadoes can have winds between 65 and 450 kilometers per hour. 

Weather can be peaceful and stunning, yet it can turn volatile at any second. Fortunately, the predictive sciences of Meteorology can help us survive and thrive while being in weather, and maintain a level of safety while enjoying it. 

Piano Recital

A few weeks ago on May 11, I performed a recital with two cellists. My piano teacher, Kerry, was one of them and the other was her cello teacher, Ryan. You can see his bio here:

We performed the recital at her house in front of a few people, including our families, a few of her neighbors, and my father confessor Father John Whiteford and his Matushka Patricia.

Here is a list of songs that we performed.

The first four songs were just performed by me and my teacher, but we all played the last song.

Our Solar System: Massive, Mystical, Magnificent

The sun.

Within our solar system there are eight planets, each with its own atmosphere, chemical composition, terrain, and moons all being differently influenced by the sun. All the unique characteristics that define each planet might make the solar system seem magnificent and overwhelming in size, but comforting to know that everything’s designed and ordered perfectly. 

The celestial bodies of our solar system are split into two groups: Inner Planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars) and Outer Planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune). As the closest planet to the sun, Mercury’s years are just 88 days long and it has a similar terrarian to the moon, rocky with craters covering its surface. 

Venus is the most similar to Earth in size, density, and distance. It has a surface temperature of 470 C and is the brightest object in the sky, other than the sun and moon. 

Earth is the only planet in what’s known as the “habitable zone,” where water can exist primarily as a liquid. Venus could have had oceans thousands of years ago, but as the sun has gotten brighter all the water has evaporated, leaving it a dry, hot, and rocky planet. 

Mars is on the outer edge of the habitable zone, but any water it does have is ice and not a liquid. Besides Earth, Mars is the most thoroughly researched planet. Although it’s the second smallest planet only to Mercury, Mars is home to the largest known mountain in the solar system: the volcano Olympus Mons. Standing at 13.6 miles, it’s almost three times as tall as Mount Everest, which is 5.5 miles high. The base of the mountain would cover a land mass roughly the size of Poland. 

Jupiter, the first of the outer planets and the “gas giants,” has 60 moons. More than half of its volume is an ocean of liquid hydrogen and below that there’s a layer of metallic hydrogen. Besides being the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter is most known for its 300-year-old storm called The Great Red Spot, which is twice the size of Earth. 

Saturn has 50 moons and is most famous for its ring, made of ice and rock. Its moons have lakes and rivers of liquid methane and Saturn’s core is composed of iron-nickel, rock, and metallic hydrogen. 

Uranus has no internal source of heat, but has shown signs of seasonal change and winds that can reach up to 560 miles per hour. Uranus, along with Neptune, are sometimes classified as “ice giants” because their bulk chemical compositions differ from the other gas giants. 

Neptune doesn’t have a well-defined solid surface but instead is composed of various gasses and liquids. Neptune does have 13 moons, including one with geysers of liquid nitrogen. 

What powers the sun is nuclear fission, which is the energy created by mass when two nuclei become one. The core of the sun is about 15,000,000 K and the Photosphere, a layer of light-emitting plasma, is about 5,800 K. Above the Photosphere is a shell called the Chromosphere, which emits electromagnetic radiation at 10,000 K. Above the Chromosphere is more plasma that extends millions of kilometers into space. Called the corona, it’s the light emitting around the moon and is most easily seen during a solar eclipse. The corona still has an extremely high temperature at 1,000,000 K, making it hotter than the Photosphere. The sun does spin slowly on its axis. It takes 25 days for its equator to make a complete rotation and its poles 36 days. 

Comparable in size to Australia, the moon is the fifth largest natural satellite (an object that orbits a planet) in the solar system. Its gravitation does have a small influence on the Earth, as it lengthens the days and is responsible for the tides of Earth’s oceans. The hypothetical theory for the formation of the moon is that shortly after the Earth was created, it collided with a Mars-sized planet called Theia. The debris from that crash eventually became the moon. The craters on the moon are most likely where asteroids collided with the moon. 

Each of the planets in the solar system have their defining characteristics. From the volcano on Mars three times the size of Mount Everest to the geysers of liquid nitrogen of Neptune’s moons, the planets are mystical and massive even from the little we truly know about them.