Articles by Elizabeth Maroon
June 4, 2010
Last week when I picked up my regalia, I was warned that the fabric’s dye could run if the temperatures were warm or if it rained. Thankfully, it looks like our chance for rain during Commencement will be minimal. Highs should be reasonable as well, near 76°F (24°C). (With any luck, I’ll wear the white dress sitting in my closet.) Skies during commencement should be partly cloudy, with clouds increasing overnight. The chance for rain will also increase overnight and into Saturday as a shortwave moves through. The chance for rain will continue through Saturday night into Sunday as a weakly unstable air mass continues over the region. Temperatures through the weekend should remain comfortable with highs in the mid-70s, and lows in the 60s. A weak cold front will pass through Sunday night, followed by drier conditions and a more stable synoptic setup through the beginning of next week. And thus concludes my last Tech forecast as an MIT student. Good luck to the Class of 2010!
April 23, 2010
After yesterday’s thunderstorms and downpours of rain, a cold front passed through the area, bringing drier air behind it. Today, we get to enjoy it with mostly sunny skies as high pressure builds in the region. There will likely be a few clouds given leftover moisture, but the skies will clear more through the afternoon. The high for this afternoon will be around 63°F (17°C) and the winds will be 10–15 mph mostly from the northwest. Tonight should also be clear with lighter breezes still from the northwest. Enjoy Saturday, as similar conditions will remain in place during the daylight hours: sunny skies and spring-like temperatures. Beginning Saturday evening, the next weather system starts to make itself seen. Winds shift and come from the southwest, bringing warmer air and clouds with it. The various weather models are not yet agreeing as to the timing and amount of the Sunday’s potential rain. As I write this, the bulk of the rain is predicted to be to our south, and any rain that we do will likely be light. Accumulations will be probably less than 0.10”. Conditions will be cooler and wetter into the beginning of next week, so enjoy today’s sun!
March 30, 2010
As you read this, we are surpassing the record for Boston’s rainiest March in the last century. As of last night, we have seen a total of more than 11.2 inches of rain this month, while the rainiest March prior totaled 11.0 inches in 1953. Flooding throughout the region will occur; the NWS has flood warnings out for all of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, as well as much of New York and New Jersey. Today, a strong southerly low-level jet stream from the E/SE feeds lots of moisture over us. Upper level winds slowly push the low pressure system directly on top of us, centering a strong region of convergence right over Massachusetts. We should see the heaviest rain today around noon; totals for the day will be around three or more inches. Surface winds will be predominantly from the north/northwest and reaching a maximum speed of 20 mph.
March 9, 2010
The past few days have given us a taste of the spring weather to come with sunny skies and comfortable highs approaching 60°F (16°C). A cold front that moved through New England last night will keep highs a little cooler than the past few days, although still well above the normal high for this time of year. High pressure in the region will allow us to keep these dry conditions and mostly clear skies for today and tomorrow. Tonight’s clear skies and light winds will also be ideal for radiational cooling: Expect temperatures tonight to dip into the low 30s on campus, and into the 20s further inland. Clouds will begin to build in our region throughout Thursday, as the next storm system further strengthens over the mid-Atlantic and begins to move our way on Friday. Ample moisture means that we could see plenty of rain (potentially a few inches) for the whole weekend starting sometime Friday afternoon or evening. But for today and tomorrow, enjoy the sun — nothing but blue skies do I see.
February 23, 2010
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this week is going to be wet. Yesterday’s clear skies and relatively comfortable temperatures are gone. As I write this, certainty in the various models is not particularly high as to when the rain will start today. There is a low system, headed up the coast, that will bring much moisture our way. However, the type of precipitation, rain or snow, is going to depend on the timing of the storm and how much warm air is advected northward.
October 20, 2009
NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, recently stated that El Niño would be a dominant factor in this winter’s climate. But how is it that one phenomenon apparently restricted to the tropics can affect climate around the world? Well, it’s all due to the circulations in the atmosphere and ocean in the equatorial Pacific. Normally, there is great upwelling of the waters to the west of Peru; cold, nutrient-rich water is brought up and is blown westward by the trade winds, creating a “cold tongue” of water near the equator. More convection is seen to the west; but when El Niño conditions set up, the trade winds decrease; cold, nutrient-rich water does not upwell as much; and warmer waters set up further to the east than normal. As low pressure tends to coexist with warm waters, the pressure field in the Pacific tropics shifts, changing surface pressures and weather patterns, across the globe. However, despite all of these changes in the atmosphere, New England will not be affected significantly. For us, there are equal probabilities for a relatively cold or warm winter and for a relatively wet or dry winter.
September 29, 2009
After Sunday’s overcast rain, yesterday’s sunny blue skies (and its beautiful high of 75°F) were quite wonderful. However, last night we saw a large cold front pass that stretches down from Canada all along the Eastern seaboard and curves around through the gulf of Mexico. As it moved through our region, it brought clouds and rain.
September 22, 2009
A friend of mine once said, “You can tell that it’s fall when the skies are clear and blue.” And while this did apply to many of our high school afternoons, it isn’t quite as cut and dry here in Cambridge, where the weather varies more dramatically. Yesterday was such a day with completely clear skies due to high pressure off the coast. Today should also be fairly clear, with a few clouds here and there.
September 1, 2009
As the student population returns to MIT, it hardly seems the time to be looking ahead to the end of the semester and beyond. However, meteorologists must be aware of the atmosphere’s current patterns, and what can be expected to come; being aware of the climate in the next few months is both economically and socially advisable. For example, if drought is expected, farmers and economists alike can prepare for and hopefully mitigate any losses.
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May 1, 2009
Ever since the gorgeous weather during CPW, I have been receiving more “Nice job with the Weather Machine” comments than ever. As one of the few undergrad meteorologists, I usually just laugh it off. But recently, the rate at which I’ve been asked “Why did you make it rain all week?” has begun to annoy me. Let me set the score straight: the weather machine is a myth.