Articles by Garrett P. Marino
May 2, 2008
We are still in that time of the year when the diurnal, or daily, temperature range can be rather large. Clear skies and light winds are ideal conditions to make this happen, with abundant sunlight to warm the surface during the day, and good radiational cooling at night lowering temperatures. For instance, Bedford (10 miles to the northwest of Boston) reported a temperature of 26 degrees yesterday morning, while Martha’s Vineyard was even colder — an amazing 22 degrees Fahrenheit! Meanwhile in Boston, the ocean’s influence kept temperatures near 40. Within two hours of sunrise, all three locations were nearly the same temperature — about 50°F. So within the next few weeks, if the sun is setting upon clear skies and light winds, there’s a good chance it’ll be cold before sunrise.
April 4, 2008
The letters “wx” stand for the weather, hence the name WxChallenge, a national collegiate weather forecasting competition. MIT has competed in both this competition since its inception in 2006 and also its predecessor, the NCWFC (National Collegiate Weather Forecasting Competition). In fact, we have taken the national title five of the past six years. In the contest, we forecast for a different city every two weeks, estimating the high and low temperatures on any given day, the highest wind speed, and also the precipitation amount. The contest ends today, and what happens today at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport will determine if MIT takes the title again, or if our rival, Mississippi State University, comes out with a narrow victory. The final results will be posted on the “cumulative results” page of the WxChallenge Web site tomorrow afternoon, so check it out: www.wxchallenge.com.
February 26, 2008
The snow that impacted the Northeast last Friday officially left 8.9 inches in the Boston area, nearly beating the previous daily record of 9.0 inches set in 1893. A liquid equivalent of 0.75 inches fell, which means that the average snowfall ratio was 12:1 (12 inches of snow to one inch of rain): fairly typical of snowstorms in this area. Although it may not seem like it, the storm pushed Boston’s seasonal snowfall total to 50 inches, well ahead of an average year’s pace.
January 30, 2008
As is frequent this time of the year, there can be a considerable difference in temperature over a short distance, i.e. a large temperature gradient. Fronts are usually responsible for these gradients, while the fronts are associated with low-pressure systems. One such low-pressure system located over the northern Great Lakes region yesterday sent a cold front plunging down into the Plains and Midwest. On the east side of the front, temperatures were generally in the 50s and 60s°F (10–20°C), whereas on the back side temperatures plunged as low as -30°F (-35°C)!
November 9, 2007
Temperatures over the next few days will continue to be below average for a change. The month of October saw temperatures average more then five degrees above normal for Boston, mainly thanks to a dry high pressure pattern. That’s all a distant memory as far as the near-term weather is concerned. A low pressure system will be redeveloping off the mid-Atlantic coast today and track northeastward out to sea, although it will still provide us a chance of light precipitation Friday night and Saturday morning. If any precipitation does fall, it will likely be of the liquid variety, although temperatures may be marginal enough to have a few flakes mixed in as well. After the storm scrapes by us on Saturday, high pressure will settle into New England, yielding pleasant and sunny conditions for Sunday and the early part of next week. Enjoy the holiday!
October 23, 2007
Yesterday’s highs approached, and in some cases surpassed, the 80 degree mark yet again. Logan reached 81 degrees, nearly tying its record of 83 set in 1979. In fact, October to date has averaged more than 5 degrees above normal. Yesterday’s warm readings were typical of late June; our average highs should be near 60°F for late October, with average lows in the mid 40s°F. You can thank the unusual warmth of late on a persistent high pressure pattern that has been advecting the warm air into the Northeast. The warm air advection will be suppressed today by the passage of a cold front, bringing us a period of showers late this afternoon and evening. Expect the rest of the week to be more seasonable and pleasant. Our next chance of rain comes this weekend as a slow-moving system currently in the southern Plains moves our way.
September 28, 2007
Summer has come and gone as of last Sunday morning at 5:51 EST, but try telling that to the weather! We have been in an unusual high pressure pattern lately, which has allowed temperatures this week to soar and cut down precipitation to just 35 percent of normal since Aug. 1. Logan’s high of 88°F on Tuesday nearly tied the record high of 89°F for the same date in 1926. Again on Wednesday and Thursday, highs of 93°F and 85°F were only two degrees and one degree off from tying records, respectively. Thankfully, the muggy and rainy conditions today will usher in much drier and cooler air for the weekend.
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September 11, 2007
Although technically not yet autumn, temperatures over the foreseeable future will certainly make it feel like the fall season. Contrast this to just a few days ago when Logan tied a record high of 95°F, previously set way back in 1872. A cold front moved through early Sunday morning, bringing substantially cooler and somewhat drier air with its passage. The weekend also saw a weak Tropical Storm Gabrielle brush the North Carolina coast with mainly light rain and some gusty winds. Cape Hatteras recorded a top wind speed of 53 mph. Now a tropical depression, Gabrielle is currently racing off to the northeast and passed about 200 miles south of Nantucket last night.