48 degrees overhead!

Although our high only reached 26 degrees today, warmer temperatures were closer than we thought. Say you let a balloon go from ground level. By the time your balloon reached 1,500 feet, it would have warmed to about 48 degrees! That’s exactly what the National Weather Service does twice a day. The above picture is from today’s balloon launch in the Quad Cities (our nearest site). The red line is the temperature, and the green denotes the dew point. As you go up vertically, notice how the temperature increases rapidly. This is called an inversion when we have warm air over cold air. It indicates stable conditions with a high likelihood of fog. Our abundant snowpack on the ground is cooling the warm southwesterly flow and is a large contributor to this temperature snapshot. Another important thing to note is how the dewpoint and temperature lines diverge at a low level. This is indicative of our low level moisture, while drier, clear skies lie above. As we go through the evening and into early Sunday, look out for freezing fog as our temperatures at the ground will remain below 32 until midday Sunday.


Posted under science

This post was written by qni_it on January 16, 2010

5 Comments so far

  1. Justin January 16, 2010 8:58 PM

    Where can I find graphics and data like this on the NWS website? Thanks

  2. WI Weather Buff January 16, 2010 9:02 PM

    Cool Beans Aaron! I love these educational posts that teach viewers / readers about the tools used by meteorologists!

  3. Aaron Brackett January 16, 2010 9:36 PM

    Justin, Here is the link for the soundings from the Storm Prediction Center


    Thanks WiWx!!


  4. tony January 16, 2010 10:50 PM

    I tell you, I do learn alot from this blog on how to read the computer model maps, that is for sure. I know I have pretty much learned how to read the GFS computer models with knowing where the freezing line is and pretty much knowing whether it may be rain or snow.

  5. WI Weather Buff January 17, 2010 1:35 PM

    Indeed there was extremely beautiful freezing fog last night. I wish my camera wasn’t on the fritz. 🙁

    The twigs on the trees and brush were covered with millions of tiny little spikes of frozen crystals giving a real “winter wonderland” appearance to the vegetation.


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