Articles by Cegeon J. Chan
May 6, 2008
Whether you are an Obama or Clinton fan (or even a McCain supporter), there should be at least one thing everybody can agree on today: weather-wise, it’s a super Tuesday. Today features sunny skies, seasonably warm temperatures, and a light wind. If there were to be a vote for the best weather condition, I would argue today’s weather (OK, maybe a wee-bit warmer) would appease the largest number of people on campus. Slightly hotter would likely make anyone participating in an outdoor activity too sweaty and uncomfortable. If slightly cooler, some pedestrians may find the air has some bite.
April 29, 2008
After 14 straight days of mostly sunny skies, dry conditions, and warm weather (remember that?), the streak came to an abrupt end yesterday. It was the longest such streak since mid-March 2006. While yesterday’s steady light rain was just a nuisance, today’s moderately heavy rain likely will dampen spirits (and the bottom of pants for that matter). The rain will last through the lunch hours, and by early evening, the last water droplets will likely come to an end.
April 25, 2008
No, this is not about a dry-lipped freshman in danger of failing a class. Instead, it is in reference to yesterday’s dangerous fire weather conditions. Red flag warnings are issued by the National Weather Service (the so-called “real” meteorologists) when a majority of the following conditions occur: dry air, strong winds, and approximately 10 or more days without precipitation. We certainly had that yesterday. The first two can be attributed to yesterday’s strong vertical mixing. This “homogenizing” process “dragged” the air from 1 mile above towards the surface. Since the air above is almost always windier and drier, this caused the desert-like dryness (with relative humidity readings near 10 percent) and wind gusts of 35 mph.
March 7, 2008
There have been eight straight weekends in Boston with at least one drop of precipitation. This weekend will certainly be no exception. Although it is sunny during the daytime hours today, rain will be moving in later tonight. Not only will this possibly impact your Friday night plans, but due to the size of the precipitating region, this storm will also rain-in on your Saturday night activities as well.
February 19, 2008
After yesterday’s rain storm, Boston is now over three inches above the normal liquid precipitation (3.3”) for all of February. Last year, there were only 2.2” for the whole month and only four cloudy days. This year, there have already been seven cloudy days. So what’s causing this unpleasant stretch of weather?
January 9, 2008
Most were not here, or perhaps, some had forgotten. But last Thursday, while most of campus was relatively deserted, a -15°F wind chill reading was recorded at Logan
November 13, 2007
There are at least five different strategies in forecasting. One could look at trends, e.g. today is warmer than yesterday, so tomorrow will be warmer than today. Another method would use climatology. For instance, tomorrow’s high would look at the maximum temperatures that occurred on that particular day of the year and take the average of that data set. Thirdly, a more sophisticated way is called the analog method. For example, one would recognize the current pattern with a similar one that happened in the past and expect the same result. The fourth method is using numerical weather prediction. Finally, the fifth strategy is called persistence. One would forecast the weather to behave as it is currently. For example, using this strategy, one would expect it to rain tomorrow, since it rained today.
October 16, 2007
Will today’s sunny skies help produce intense colors for the autumn leaves? Or is it the cold temperatures and the soil moisture that matter? While there is still some debate in the scientific community on the exact details, it seems to be a combination of the three. Cool temperatures (but not below freezing) and lots of sunlight in the preceding weeks help to kill the chlorophyll and setup the formation of anthocyanins, which create the sharp red and purplish colors our eyes are accustomed to seeing. Obviously, plenty of soil moisture will keep the tree “healthy” and help it hold onto its leaves. So with our somewhat rainy summer, sunny Septembers (climatologically the sunniest month of the year for Boston) and a rapid transition to cooler temperatures, the color intensity of our autumn leaves is one of the best in the world.
August 27, 2007
While freshmen and first-year graduate students are likely being comforted by Orientation leaders and various MIT administrators, mother nature is providing comfort in her own way. Not only was it hot on Saturday, where Boston tied the all-time record high temperature of 96°F, it was also humid. Generally, dew point readings above 60°F is considered humid and over 70°F is oppressive. We topped off at 74°F Saturday afternoon, a reading normally observed near the Gulf of Mexico. Is it always this humid in Boston? According to the National Climatic Data Center, the average dew point reading in Boston is 62°F for August and a much drier 55°F for September.
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February 16, 2007
Even though Wednesday's Valentine's Day Storm is long gone, the low-pressure is leaving behind windy conditions. The system continued to strengthen over Nova Scotia yesterday causing the pressure gradient to increase and consequently the blustery conditions that will stay with us for another 24 hours. For any curious readers, the 2.5 inches of snowfall in Boston brings the total to 4.3 inches this season. (According to one TV meteorologist, the record lowest snowfall total for the entire season is 9 inches.)