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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.


The satellite budgets of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are in peril — and that could affect public safety. NOAA — the parent agency for the National Weather Service and its satellite service — is in line for a large slashing, under budget cuts recently proposed by the Trump administration. If the proposal goes through Congress, NOAA could se…

March will be more active than February, but … not by all that much. Last week extended-range computer guidance was suggesting numerous quick hits of more wintry weather during March than we had in the extraordinarily warm and snowless February we’ve  just experienced. Around Feb. 22-24, the guidance showed vigorous storm systems zooming down into the Great Lakes p…

Tornadoes occur every month of the year, but we are now going to be coming into what is usually the most active time of the year for tornadic storms – spring. Generally, the greatest activity advances from south to north as warming expands northward. Last year, after an active February start, was exceptionally quiet most of the year until near the year’s end. This y…

I recall both Andy Rooney and David Letterman taking shots at the wind chill index as TV weather gimmicks, both with inventive sarcasm and wit. Since I can be quite the smart aleck myself, I admit it can be a good target. It doesn’t help if a weathercaster takes air time to give you the wind chill temperature when the wind speed is 5 mph and the temperature is 38 degrees…

Sharp February warming: Is it weather or climate? Or is it both? To say it’s hard to tell is a scientific understatement. There is the irrefutable footprint of a warming climate when averaged globally. Winters have been warmer, again on average, across the United States for many decades. Note that there are no regions in the lower 48 states that have had mean cool…

It would be more fun to just write about the nor’easters themselves, like Thursday’s storm. It was a genuine blizzard for parts of eastern New England and Long Island. This excitement is particularly timely because the next one coming up, on Monday, will deepen even more explosively into a stronger roaring blizzard close to Maine. It’s not often something writt…

Weather forecasts, especially during active patterns, can often vary widely from one source to another. If forecasts are all based on the same data input, why would that be the case? This commonly asked question came up in my mind because I just read a Seattle newspaper interview with the National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist/WCM for that region. …

Most of you have heard sea levels are rising, mainly due to human activity. Warming is the underpinning of those rises. I’m using "rises," plural, because sea level increases are uneven around the globe; they're happening faster in some places and slower in others. The warming is almost entirely due to the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation leading to more carb…

If my mom were still around, she’d say “AHA!!” My mom, like millions of others, firmly believed cold weather caused colds. I would argue, after having chatted with doctors numerous times and hearing what I wanted to hear: “No, Mom, you have to be exposed to a cold virus to catch a cold.” Turns out we both were right, at least partially. You can’t catch a col…

What are the odds that the Blizzard of '77 could happen again? I’m tempted to say slim and none. Let’s amend that to “almost none.” For this winter season, we are essentially at “none.” As far as we can discern from Buffalo weather records, the Blizzard of ’77 was a one-time event, at least since the late 19th century. The setup leading to that disas…

Those of you with good memories may recall I wrote an outlook article that predicted January would turn predominantly cold. It ran Jan. 1. Hopefully, many of you will be too busy to open that link to reread the piece. Yes, I did pull back from that in a subsequent article on Jan. 7. That doesn’t undo my first overestimation of the likelihood of more prolonged below a…

According to both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2016 was the warmest year globally in 137 years of record keeping and the second warmest for the United States. When it became apparent that last winter’s El Nino was going to be a huge event, a large spike in global warmth was expected and full…

We live in the troposphere, the lowest layer of the atmosphere. It’s where nearly all of our weather occurs, although a few towering thunderstorms can cross over a boundary called the tropopause and extend up into the stratosphere. In the troposphere, the temperature generally decreases with height  – except when there are temperature inversions, where a warm layer…

Most of you know that Earth would be uninhabitable without greenhouse gases. These gases allow solar energy through to heat our surface, but help absorb enough longer wave infrared radiation to keep our planet warm enough for life as we know it. In that broad and vital sense, the greenhouse effect is an all-important and good thing. Without the greenhouse effect, we wou…

Social media – Facebook more than any other element of it – suffers from countless posts on news, politics, medicine, nutrition, and weather based on bad information. I’m here to discuss my bailiwick, weather. Sometimes it’s awful information tied to baseless conspiracy theories such as chemtrails. In this example, thousands of folks believe the government is…