Articles by Angela Zalucha
September 8, 2009
Many people consider Labor Day as the last weekend of the summer, signaling the end of hot weather and the beginning of the school year. Climatologists define their seasons to be three months long, so that autumn starts on September 1 and ends on November 30, summer starts on June 1st and ends on August 31st, etc. The astronomical first day of autumn starts at the precise moment of the autumnal equinox, which in the Northern Hemisphere can either occur on September 22nd or 23rd. Likewise, the first day of summer starts at the summer solstice (June 20 or 21).
July 8, 2009
As you are well aware, June was unseasonably cold. The mean temperature for June was 63.3°F, which ties it with June 1982 as the sixth coldest June on record in Boston since records began in 1872. Average temperatures of various sorts are often reported by meteorologists, such as the average high or low for a particular day of the year. A statistical quantity that is often overlooked is the standard deviation. That is, when a record occurs, how statistically unlikely is that event compared with the mean?
April 24, 2009
It’s that time of year again, when you no longer need your coat outside, but instead must wear it inside. I am referring to a series of warm, summer-like days, followed by the inevitable switch from heat to air conditioning in MIT’s buildings. This weekend looks to do the trick, with Saturday’s forecasted high of 82°F approaching the record high of 83°F (set in 1982), and Sunday’s high of 85°F challenging the current record of 85°F (set way back in 1872).
April 3, 2009
Meteorologists have many words for water falling from the sky. The most general term is precipitation, which includes liquid and solid water.
March 3, 2009
The classic nor’easter swept through New England Monday morning, dumping 7.5 inches of snow at Logan airport (as of Monday afternoon).
February 10, 2009
Everybody knows it gets warmer when the sun is out, but sometimes we get some help from the wind. Normally people associate a winter wind with cold, since the flow of air removes heat generated by the body. However, when a strong, persistent wind blows from the southwest, the wind may transport warm air from the southern part of the country to New England. Meteorologists call the transport by wind of an atmospheric property (in this case heat) advection.
January 21, 2009
After receiving 12.4 inches of snow at Logan Airport this past Sunday and Monday, Boston could use a break from the snow. Luckily, the weather looks free of precipitation over the next week. Friday will be the warmest day in two weeks, with the high temperature looking to reach 40°F (4°C). Otherwise, temperatures will remain below freezing, not giving the snow already on the ground any chance to melt. Another shot of cold air invades us on Sunday, with a forecasted high of around 10°F (-12°C).
December 9, 2008
As you’re recovering from Monday morning’s low of 14°F (normal low: 30°F), take comfort in the fact that Wednesday’s high temperature is forecasted to approach 60°F (normal high: 43°F). Often the media quotes the climatological average highs and lows as part of their statistics, but an often overlooked piece of information is the standard deviation, especially in mid-latitude climates like Boston. You may have noticed that the variation in temperature during the winter season is quite high. For example, in January of this year, the lowest temperature for the month was 7°F, and just five days later, the high temperature was 67°F! Yet during the summer, the temperature stays within a narrower range. This difference between the season has to do with the temperature gradient that exists between the equator and the poles. During the winter, the gradient is the strongest in a tight band that weaves across the U.S. Depending on the north-south position of that band near Boston, we may see very cold weather (if it is south of us), or very warm weather (if it is north of us).
November 18, 2008
High temperatures this week will struggle to get to 40°F, as a cold pattern dominates our weather this week. Lows will reach the mid 20s°F. While these temperatures are 10 degrees below normal, perhaps “deep freeze” is too strong a word, since in February we will look upon this month and remember how warm it was. Luckily (unluckily for snow sports enthusiasts), no snow is forecasted for this week.
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October 10, 2008
High pressure builds in from the west today, giving us a weekend of full of sunny weather. Temperatures will be slightly above normal with highs in the upper 60s°F and lows around 50°F. And while you are outside enjoying yourself this weekend (or maybe not if you have midterms and psets), meteorologists like me have very little to do.