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Don Paul

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.


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. …

Now that Earth Day and the March for Science are behind us, I’d like to bring you a look at ongoing climate science and some seeming paradoxes surrounding it. Carbon dioxide is up more than 40 percent since around 1880, and humans have caused nearly all of that increase. The Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the longest-running site for precise carbon dioxide measureme…

I’ll open with a disclaimer: Summer outlooks are fuzzy, by nature. In general, the weather and its patterns are less well-defined during summer months than during the winter. The low-pressure troughs and high-pressure ridges are flatter, the polar jet stream is slower and retreats to the north, and the storm systems that cross the nation are weaker…"in general.” Tha…

Many allergy sufferers already know we’re off to a tough pollen season for this early in spring. The warm winter has moved the blooming season ahead of schedule, and there has been plenty of precipitation to assist in developing full foliage. At this time in April, the primary culprits in our region are pollen grains from maple, poplar and elm trees. While (to my know…

While there have been disturbing signs of major cuts in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/NOAA and NASA’s budget in vital climate science, it appears NOAA’s National Weather Service will not be suffering an identical fate and philosophy of neglect. Congress has sent a 97-page bill to President Trump which will actually invest $1 billion in National We…

It’s safe to assume the majority of white knuckle drives are related to weather. It can be snow, fog, heavy rain or even light rain. I drive a sedan which is equipped with a safety sensing package which warns me if I’m drifting out of my lane and can even steer me back into my lane if I ignore the shaking steering wheel. If I’ve been lackadaisical about steerin…