Articles by Brian H. Tang
August 5, 2009
Where did the summer go? Mother Nature has been extra kind to our air conditioning bills and sweat glands these past months. It has been Boston’s fourth-coolest two-month period since 1872 and one of the wettest as well. Has something gone awry?
May 5, 2009
Seasonal allergy sufferers don’t need the visual cue of the blooming flowers and budding leaves to know that everything is coming alive. The recent hot spell is partially to blame for the sudden rise in sneezing and stuffy noses as the near record temperatures have really accelerated the greening of trees and plants. Along with the warmth, days with low humidity and a stiff breeze can really aggravate the suffering as pollen is more easily suspended in the air.
April 10, 2009
Who knew being a meteorologist could be such a dangerous job? In Brazil, a forecaster who predicted a big storm that never materialized was threatened with a six month prison term. In Peru, a local TV weatherman who failed to predict a flash food was taken away by a furious mob and lynched in retaliation. Although such unreasonable or violent displays are unheard of domestically, meteorologists often take the blame for what are perceived as bad forecasts through vindictive calls or e-mails.
February 17, 2009
Although the Western Conference may have bested the Eastern Conference in Sunday’s NBA All Star Game, the weather bragging rights are clearly in the East. It didn’t seem possible, but much of the ice and snow that fell in the prior month has vanished in recent days. Although temperatures haven’t been far from the climatological average, daily high temperatures have consistently climbed above freezing. This, combined with a few bouts of rain in lieu of additional snow storms, has laid waste to the deep snow pack Mother Nature had built up last month. However, we’re still in the depths of winter and the risk of snow returning spontaneously is still in the cards. Thankfully, this week does not feature a return to the ice cavern of January.
January 14, 2009
After a seemingly benign start to the winter, the snow started flying just before Christmas and has really piled up around these parts. The shivering and shoveling will continue as another storm arrives on our doorstep tomorrow afternoon. Albeit, this storm will minor compared to its predecessors as it will move through fast and contribute at most a couple more inches to the snowpack.
December 5, 2008
Every now and then a story about a novel invention that modifies the weather becomes an attention grabbing flash in the pan with the popular media. Wouldn’t it be great if you could order up sunny days every weekend and have it rain only at night? Florida homeowners would love nothing more than to set up a huge fan along the coast to blow hurricanes out to sea. Most attention in the arena of weather modification has been to prevent severe weather events, make it rain by seeding clouds, and reverse the effects of global climate change. Unfortunately, despite the rosy promises any method holds, there are often problems with feasibility, cost, scaling, reproducibility, and just plain lack of thought. For now, we mere mortals just have to deal with the weather or move to San Diego.
November 14, 2008
One doesn’t have to be in New England very long to realize that the weather gets crazier as we approach the winter solstice. While the polar regions cool off quickly, the tropics remain relatively constant producing a large equator to pole temperature difference and a strong jet stream. The consequence of this is increased storminess that throws the area in to a weather roller coaster yielding huge swings in temperature and a whole gamut of precipitation. It’s Mother Nature’s way of trying to restore equilibrium, but at the cost of a wet pair of pants and shoes from time to time.
October 24, 2008
The mere mention of snow sends people flocking to get sweaters, gloves, scarves, and occasionally every last loaf of bread and gallon of milk in supermarkets as well. We’re approaching that time of year when the flakes will begin to fall and cover the ground in a serene white. On average, the first snow arrives in Boston around Nov. 4, and the first inch of accumulating snow doesn’t usually occur until the first part of December. However, some years are curveballs, including 2005. On Oct. 29 of that year, 1.1 inches (2.8 cm) of slushy snow coated the still changing leaves.
September 26, 2008
Hopefully you got the most out this stretch of very nice, dry weather we’ve been happily mired in the last few weeks. Mother Nature has some catching up to do in the rain bucket, and boy will she certainly fill up the bucket today and tomorrow. The culprits are two systems to our south.
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July 9, 2008
Although the Atlantic Ocean sees the lion’s share of its hurricanes August through October, hurricanes have been observed to form in July. Last week, a strong and consolidated area of thunderstorms emerged off Africa and quickly developed into Tropical Storm Bertha. On Monday, Bertha strengthened into a hurricane and underwent a period of rapid intensification becoming a category 3 storm with winds of 120 mph (190 kph). While hurricanes in July aren’t remarkable, the location of Bertha is. Bertha has set records for the farthest east a tropical storm, hurricane, and major hurricane have formed so early in the hurricane season (though reliable records date back to only the early ’70s).