Nature's Weather Predictors
There have been many technological advances in weather forecasting over time, from atmospheric concepts to instrumentation and computers. All of which have proven to be extremely vital to accurate forecasting. However, science and technology are not the only indicators of impending changes in the weather. Did you know that plants and animals can also be valuable assets in helping to predict weather changes? Let's review some of nature's weather aids.
The most famous although fairly inaccurate animal to predict the weather is the groundhog. Folklore says whether or not he sees his shadow on Feburary 2nd determines if spring will arrive early or late. This is highly based on legend because there is little if any science behind the theory - which explains why he is typically wrong around 60% of the time. There are many other animals and living things in nature that are actually more accurate versus the groundhog. Some of these we see and hear everyday.
The first one is the common cricket. They can actually be used as thermometers. Basically, the faster they chirp, the warmer it is and the slower they chirp, the colder it is. A fairly accurate calculation can be used here to even find the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit. Just count the number of chirps heard in 14 seconds and add 40, that's pretty close to the current temperature.
Dandelion flowers can also indicate a change in the weather. Dandelions are typically better weather predictors when the flower has seeded and takes on a white "puff ball" appearance. In this state if they remain fully open, fair weather can be expected. However, if the "puff ball" closes, it is usually due to a sudden temperature drop or cloudy skies moving in. The flower closes due to the lack of sun and cooler temperatures (akin to night). Many think the flower closes to protect the seeds from getting wet - as wet seeds cannot ride the wind as readily. That may be giving too much credit to a dandelion, but if you see a closed seed ball, rain may be on the way.
Ants are probably one of the more reliable "weathermen" that mother nature has to offer. If they are working very quickly and behave out of the ordinary, this generally indicates rain is on its way. In addition, when ants build cones or crowns around their nests it can also signify rain. If you're looking for ants to predict snow, however, they generally give up and go into hibernation. Smart insect!
The second one is a cat. A cat's ears are very sensitive to atmospheric pressure changes. When a cat puts its paws over its ears it usually means rain may be possible. Also if they are acting erratically, a sudden change in the weather could be coming, as in a thunderstorm or cold frontal passage.
Finally, when the leaves on trees turn over to show their undersides, this could mean wet weather is moving in. Now the leaves just don't turn over by themselves, more scientifically, the leaves become more pliable due to increased humidity ahead of a rainstorm. Any wind around is then more likely to turn the leaves to expose the lighter underside, which is typically not seen as often. With more lighter colors are displayed in the tree as a whole, you can tell when rain may be on the horizon.