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March-April 2017

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Rainbow Detectives: When Art Gets Meteorology Wrong

Art and science often complement each other, but occasionally they can collide when the needs of artistic license and the realities of atmospheric physics are at odds. For example, as meteorologists, many of us cringe whenever we watch a movie or television show and notice that, for the climactic scene occurring during a violent thunderstorm, the lightning flash and the thunder clap happen at exactly same time. Of course, we as meteorologists know that lightning and thunder should not occur simultaneously unless we are at the very ground zero of the event.       

ROBERT C. BALLING, JR. is a professor at Arizona State University.

RANDY CERVENY is a contributing editor of Weatherwise and a professor at Arizona State University.

ALISA SPAVRONSKAYA is an Arizona State University art education graduate and now teaches art in the Tempe Union School District.       

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