While you watch the solar eclipse, you will also be able to feel it

While you watch the solar eclipse, you will also be able to feel it

Jason Redmond – Reuters

People watch the total solar eclipse in Madras, Oregon, on August 21, 2017.


Monday, April 8 A Total solar eclipse It will change weather conditions on Earth as the astronomical marvel unfolds in the sky.

Changes in temperature, wind speed, and humidity occur when the Moon crosses in front of the Sun and casts its shadow on the Earth's surface during a solar eclipse.

The more sunlight is blocked, the more dramatic the climate changes. The effect is similar to how shaded areas are cooler on a hot day than anywhere exposed to direct sunlight.

April's total solar eclipse will block the entire Sun in a 115-mile-wide path from Texas to Maine, known as the totality path. Dallas, Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Buffalo, New York, are just a few of the cities that will see this phenomenon.

The Moon will block a large portion of the Sun and create a partial solar eclipse outside the path of totality. The closer the area is to the path of totality, the more the Moon will block part of the Sun and its solar radiation – sunlight and energy.

At least 50% of the sun will be blocked during the eclipse as far west as Anaheim, California, and as far east as Orlando, Florida. Only about 20% of the sun will be blocked in the Pacific Northwest.

But a decrease in solar radiation, no matter how brief, can affect temperatures and other weather.

However, not all eclipse weather changes are created equal. The exact drop in temperature can vary greatly based on other factors such as cloud cover and time of year.

The time of year is important because the angle at which sunlight hits the Earth affects temperatures, with a higher angle producing more intense sunlight and heat. The angle of the sun rises throughout the spring, reaches its peak in the summer, and begins to decrease in the fall.

the The last total solar eclipse It occurred during a summer afternoon in late August, so temperatures were already high and more likely to cause craters in some locations along the path of totality.

Temperatures dropped by 11 degrees in just one hour in Douglas, Wyoming, and there was a widespread drop in temperatures of 4 to 8 degrees across the South.

The April eclipse will unfold at a lower angle to the sun than in August, however As the warmer part of the afternoon approaches. So, the short eclipse-driven cooldown It will be quite noticeable before temperatures return to pre-eclipse levels.

Temperatures during the April event could drop by about 10 degrees for up to an hour in the path of totality, said Andrew White, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis. The drop in temperatures will be less noticeable in areas of partial eclipse.

The eclipse will also affect humidity levels, limiting how low temperatures can be during the totality.

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How humid you feel is closely related to temperature. Humidity rises when the air temperature and dew point, which measures the amount of moisture in the air, are close to the same temperature. So when air temperatures drop briefly during an eclipse, it approaches the dew point and makes the air a little more humid.

But air temperatures cannot drop below the dew point, so if dew points start to be high during the eclipse it will limit how far temperatures can fall.

Reduced solar radiation and lower temperatures during an eclipse can also affect winds and cloud cover.

Cooling down during an eclipse briefly reduces the amount of heat stored in the atmosphere. Heat forces the air to rise and makes the atmosphere unstable. The atmosphere then creates clouds, storms, and winds to release thermal energy in an attempt to rebalance itself.

So when an eclipse cools the air, the atmosphere calms down and wind speeds decrease because the atmosphere isn't working as hard to balance itself. Scientists made a number of weather measurements in Wyoming and New York during the 2017 total solar eclipse And he found Wind speeds decreased by 6 mph as a result of the eclipse.

A significant drop in temperature can also change cloud cover.

Clouds disappeared over parts of South Carolina during the 2017 total solar eclipse because they lost their fuel — the heat that forces air to rise and form clouds. It is possible that something similar will happen during Monday's eclipse.

Monday's eclipse is the only opportunity to see a total solar eclipse of the lower 48 degrees during the next two decades. The next total solar eclipse to cross the country won't arrive until August 12, 2045, but it will briefly cross parts of Montana and the Dakotas on August 23, 2044.

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