Weather Hazards Basics

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Tornado funnel. Image Credit: NASA
Tornado funnel. Image Credit: NASA
  • Tornado funnel. Image Credit: NASA
  • Satellite image of Hurricane Isabel.  Image Credit: Jacques Descloitres, NASA
  • Tornado funnel. Image Credit: NOAA

Weather hazards include hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, lightning, hail, winds, and winter weather. Many of these phenomena are related to atmospheric conditions that can be monitored and forecast.

Why do weather hazards matter?

Weather hazards impact the entire country, with enormous effects on the economy and public safety. Since 1980, weather/climate disasters have cost the U.S. economy more than $1 trillion.[1] Several billion-dollar weather/climate disasters affect the United States in an average year.[2]

How does geoscience help inform decisions about weather and climate hazards?

Geoscientists who study weather patterns, also known as meteorologists, closely monitor weather conditions in order to issue warnings and make recommendations to the public and emergency managers. They also combine these observations with computer models of the Earth's atmosphere, land, and oceans to predict how weather is likely to change in the future.

References

1Billion-Dollar Weather/Climate Disasters: Overview, NOAA, www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/overview

2Billion-Dollar Weather/Climate Disasters: Table of Events, NOAA, www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/events

Learn More

Introductory Resources

  • Severe Weather 101 (Webpage), National Severe Storms Laboratory/NOAA
    Answers to basic questions about the science and forecasting of severe weather events, including tornadoes, thunderstorms, lightning, hail, floods, damaging winds and winter weather. 

Resources for Educators

Frequently Asked Questions

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
2017-05-18