Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A: Pope's height, bombogenesis

The pope's height

Related News/Archive

How tall is Pope Francis? Is he bilingual?

We thought this might be a relatively simple question to answer. After all, Pope Francis is one of the most famous people in the world, right? How can anything about him not be known?

Well, we combed two extensive profiles of the pope, one in Time magazine and one in the New Yorker, plus articles in publications around the world. We queried the Vatican press office, the Vatican library, the archbishop's office in Buenos Aires and the Associated Press in Rome. We also checked with the Loyola library's Rome campus, the Papal Nunciature in Washington, D.C., and the Catholic Bishop's Conference.

But we could not find a single authoritative reference to his height.

We saw a reference to him in one profile as being "large," and we know he worked as a bouncer for a time when he was a student in Buenos Aires. So he isn't a little man. And in photos taken alongside the former pope, Benedict, Francis appears to be at least a couple inches taller. Benedict is reportedly 5-7.

Finally, two celebrity websites, the Internet Movie Database and Celebrity Heights, both list the pope at 5-9.

So while we can't answer your question in absolute terms, we think we're in the right ballpark when we say Pope Francis is about 5-9 or so.

The language portion of the question was simpler. Reliable reports indicate the pope speaks Spanish, Latin, Italian and German fluently, and knows some English, French, Ukrainian and Portuguese. He can also speak a bit of the Piedmontese dialect, which is the language of about a million people in northwest Italy.

Today's weather word

So earlier in January we heard all about the polar vortex. Last week it was bombogenesis. What is that?

The weather word of the week got a mention by a Philadelphia meteorologist, John Bolaris, as he described the snowstorm that was about to descend on his city on Tuesday, and then it started making the rounds.

While it isn't an official meteorological term, says the American Meteorological Society, the word is commonly used by forecasters, according to research done by the Weather Channel's Stu Ostro.

What does it mean? Bolaris told NPR it's simply a "rapidly intensifying storm." Weatherprediction.com said bombogenesis "typically occurs between a cold continental air mass and warm ocean waters or between a cold polar air mass and a much warmer air mass."

When those masses are mixed, they form an "extratropical surface cyclone" — or a "bomb" of a storm. Extratropical cyclones have cold air at their core and can form over land or water, according to the Weather Underground.

Compiled from Times and wire reports. To submit a question, email answers@tampabay.com.

Q&A: Pope's height, bombogenesis 01/23/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 24, 2014 1:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Clearwater residents avoid tax rate increase for ninth year in row

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — Residents will avoid a rate hike on their property taxes for the ninth year in a row as taxable values continue to recover from recession levels, padding city coffers.

    Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos said the city must be prepared for unexpected expenses. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  2. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  3. Diaz, Taddeo win easily in special Miami Senate primaries

    Blogs

    Two Miami state Senate candidates who raised and spent the most in their respective primaries — Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and Democratic businesswoman Annette Taddeo — notched easy victories in a special election Tuesday night.

    Republican candidate Jose Felix Diaz is surrounded by supporters after he won the primary for Florida’s Senate District 40 race. Democrat Annette Taddeo, right, celebrates her victory with supporter Venus Lovely at BJ’s Restaurant in The Falls.
  4. In live debate, Kriseman and Baker ask St. Pete: Is the city better off?

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Mayoral candidates Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker made their best pitch to voters in front of a live television audience on Tuesday night. The candidates essentially asked this: Is the city better off now than it was four years ago?

    Incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker debate in front of a live television audience during the City of St. Petersburg Mayoral Debate at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg on Tuesday evening. The event was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  5. Romano: It all comes down to sewage in this mayoral race

    Local Government

    Well, poop.

    Nothing else really matters, does it?

    Schools, economic development, public safety? Pfft. The Rays stadium, affordable housing, the pier? Ack. When it comes to the St. Petersburg mayoral election, sewage is the yin, the yang and the yuck.

    At Tuesday’s debate, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman said responsibility lies on him regarding the sewage crisis.