Counting down to the Spring (Vernal) Equinox

In just one week, spring will have officially arrived in the Northern Hemisphere! Although the winter here in upstate New York has been relatively mild in terms of temperatures, the frequency of days on which a cold rain has occurred has me anxiously awaiting the increased sunshine and longer days to come in the next few months. Although we wrote a blog post last year on why we have the seasons, I thought it would be fun to look at some little known facts about the spring, or vernal equinox.

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The National Weather Service Turns 150

On February 9, 2020, the National Weather Service celebrated the 150th anniversary of its formation. While many people are aware of the important services that this agency provides in support of its mission to protect lives and property, you may not be aware of some of the unique history of the agency, the role it has played in our history, and how technological advances have helped to improve the science of weather forecasting by leaps and bounds in the last 150 years.

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Fog: A Ground and Air Transportation Hazard

Even if you are not a basketball fan, you no doubt heard the news of the passing of LA Laker legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and 7 other people in a helicopter crash in southern California last week. The tragic news sent shock waves across the nation. As the parent of a teenage daughter who is a basketball player nearly year-round, I found this tragedy personally very difficult to process, especially upon learning that there were teammates, coaches, and parents who were scheduled to play a game that day on the doomed flight. The children, families, and coaches left behind will be dealing with this loss for a long time to come. As I sat down to write this blog post today, I was going to write on an entirely different topic, but given the thoughts in my mind, I thought it would be timely to use the opportunity to talk a bit about the hazard that fog presents to both ground and aviation travel.

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Credentials of a Meteorologist

If you do a simple Google search, it can be overwhelming to find a reliable source from which to receive your weather forecasts. Many people on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media outlets often pose themselves as meteorologists and offer analysis, opinions and forecasts when in reality they may not have the credentials to rightly do so. At best, this is unethical and misleading, at worst, it can result in people making poor decisions based upon misinformation.

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Thankful for Thanksgiving

It seems so hard to believe, but today marks our fiftieth blog post!  We genuinely enjoy communicating with our readers each week.  In honor of thanksgiving and to celebrate this milestone, we thought it would be fun to reflect on all of the personal and professional blessings for which we are truly thankful.  We wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving and happy celebrations with loved ones this week!

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The 20th Northeast Regional Operational Workshop (NROW XX): How scientific research translates into better forecasts

This past week, I attended the Northeast Regional Operational Workshop, held here in Albany, New York. This conference is a local meeting, organized by forecasters at the National Weather Service in Albany, New York, which had its genesis 20 years ago as a means for forecasters at the NWS, researchers and academics at the University at Albany, and others to share results of research projects which relate directly to forecast operations in the National Weather Service. Today, the conference is attended by forecasters from many National Weather Service offices, students and faculty from the University at Albany, local media meteorologists, and representatives from the private sector such as myself.

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Daylight Savings Time: Why do we have it, and should we keep it?

If you live in a state which implements Daylight Savings Time between March and early November, you are no doubt looking forward to sleeping in one extra hour this coming Sunday morning (unless you have small children, whose body clocks do not care whether the world is in standard or daylight time!!!). There is much discussion every six months, especially in the spring when we lose an hour of sleep, about why we even have Daylight Savings Time, whether we should get rid of it, or even just keep it in Daylight time all the year long. Let’s look at the history of Daylight Savings Time, as well as some little known facts and trivia:

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Fall Weather Safety

At the time of this writing, I am enjoying a beautiful train ride along the Hudson River between New York City and Albany. Although the sun is shining and temperatures are in the 70s, some early hints of fall color are showing up on the Catskills to the west. Fall typically is not a time when most of us have ‘hazardous weather’ on our minds, especially here in the northeast U.S. where fall can be one of the most idyllic times of year. However, weather hazards can present themselves in any season, and fall is no exception.

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What is NOAA, and what is its mission?

Many of us turn to the National Weather Service for weather warnings and forecasts, but did you know that the National Weather Service is only one part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA? Our tax dollars help to fund this agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, so let’s look deeper at the mission of this very important organization and its offices.

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Weather in the News: July and August 2019

As we change the calendar to a new month, it seems like a good time to review how meteorology has made news headlines this summer. While the weather often makes the news as a front-page headline when there is a high-impact event, the work that meteorologists and other scientists do on a day-to-day basis can help to keep the public safe, project changes in climate that can lead to positive changes in public policy, and engage with schoolchildren and teachers to encourage learning in the field of meteorology. This week, we highlight just a sampling of the many ways that weather, climate, and meteorology has made news headlines recently:

Land-surface temperatures across Europe and Northern Africa, July 25, 2019. Courtesy: WMO.
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