Don Paul, The Buffalo News
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Don Paul

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Don Paul is a frequent contributor on weather/climate for The Buffalo News. He is also a staff meteorologist for WKBW and a former chief meteorologist for WIVB.

I mentioned some personal hypocrisy on the air last Saturday evening. The hypocrisy pertains to not adequately following my own advice about following good sun protection steps consistently enough over the years. Since I was talking about the high UV index I was forecasting for the next day – an easy call – it was a good time to bring it up ... a very good time. In …

Climate models correctly predicted back in the 1980s that warming would be greatest and fastest in the Arctic. Some of the physics in that forecast were simple. As Arctic sea ice melted more quickly during summer months, surface reflectivity of solar energy would change more drastically than anywhere else on the planet. The bright white ice and snow cover reflect much o…

In a recent article, I recounted how I began my TV weather career with a brief stopover at what was probably the worst station in the nation. But one of my most cherished pre-TV jobs was spending more than two years at WNEW Radio in New York. It was the station where Frank Sinatra started; it had the best local newsroom in American radio; it was probably the most sophis…

It will never happen here, but it can get too hot for some airplanes to fly. You may have heard how there have been flight cancellations during the current heat wave in the Southwest. Marshall Shepherd, former American Meteorological Society president and current chairman of atmospheric sciences at the University of Georgia, has just written a refresher article for Forb…

I didn’t begin my career in meteorology until some years after I received my college diploma. I had wanted to be a television weathercaster since I was a little boy, struggled through college to get my training and then temporarily chickened out when I graduated. I grew up in the New York area, which is the No. 1 television market in the country. You don’t break in …

A new Harvard study presents evidence that ozone over the United States, especially over the central part of the country, thins during the summer. A quick refresher: ozone in the stratosphere is what protects us and much of life from what would be a deadly dose of ultraviolet radiation from the sun. (Conversely, periodic high ozone levels near the ground develop from hu…

Rotten weekend forecasts have gotten a little easier for me, now that I’m working weekends instead of weekdays. How’s that again? For one thing, by the time you see me at 6 p.m. Saturday on WKBW, the weekend is already partially over. All those decades I was the Chief! (pause for effect) Meteorologist, I sometime had to give you bad news about the next weekend for f…

The Greenland ice cap is melting in different places at different rates and, it turns out, in different ways. How much of it will melt in the next century remains an open question. The two least likely scenarios are the best (only minor additional melting) and the worst, in which we lose the whole ice cap. “The truth will lie somewhere in between” is a fitting cl…

A new article from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies reveals very disturbing trends in the federal flood insurance program. Most of the problems are linked to ongoing and future sea level rises due to global warming, but these problems threaten the existence of the entire program across the nation. Sea level rise in combination with coastal storms are…

Supercells are long-lived, rotating thunderstorms. They can have life cycles up to and over 60 minutes, and they can reach up to 50,000 feet in the atmosphere; sometimes their tops extend even higher. All supercells are dangerous thunderstorms, with frequent lightning and usually damaging hail. Nearly all especially violent and large, long-track tornadoes come from pare…

Back on April 22, I wrote I was less confident than the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center/CPC that our summer temperatures would run above average, both in June and for June through August. CPC was projecting about a 40 percent probability summer temperatures would run above average for our region in their outlooks at the time. Some of CPC's confidence may…

The nation’s largest city is not sitting pat on rising sea levels. The ravages of Sandy were the wakeup call to get going on planning to mitigate the impacts of inevitably continuing rises in sea level. The worst effects of rising sea level will be felt during the passage of Atlantic storms, including occasional hurricanes, especially at high lunar tides. Sandy caused…

Even I had heard if you are outdoors and feel your hair stand on end, you should crouch to reduce your profile and lessen the risk of an immediate strike. The reality: There is zero evidence to support that idea. Get moving to a shelter! Never lie flat on the ground; that increases your contact for conductivity. On average, NOAA reports lightning kills 47 people in t…

Many of the much-feared cuts in science proposed by the new administration have vanished in the omnibus budget bill passed by Congress. There was bipartisan support in Congress to avoid most of the drastic cuts in scientific research that were on the table. We don’t have the space to go through all the restorations, but the publication Science has done a good job ca…

Only local National Weather Service Forecast Offices can issue official tornado warnings. That’s not a job for the private sector, nor should it be. The confusion which would ensue with multiple warnings coming from multiple sources could cost lives. So, how is the NWS doing with this life-saving part of their mission? Recently, not as well as might be expected. …