The Pollen Count: How Weather Conditions Affect Seasonal Allergies

As I sit here writing this week’s blog post, I continue to hope that *writing* about springtime will mean that actual springlike weather conditions will occur outside my (deceptively) sunny window. Now that it is April, seasonal allergies are in full swing for many, even up into the northern parts of the United States where full leaf-out is still a few weeks away (see our blog post on phenology for more information on that). Although most of us allergy sufferers are fully aware that there is a seasonal pattern to allergies, it is less commonly known why some seasons are just terrible, while others aren’t as bad.

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Spring Equinox and the National Phenology Network

Spring officially began at 5:58 PM EDT yesterday, and for many of us across the country, it can’t come soon enough. Although the weather may not yet feel like spring (portions of the Northeast US may see accumulating snow within the next few days!), we can definitely notice a difference in the sun. Did you know that the sun angle we see now is the same sun angle we see in mid-October? We are also seeing the days lengthen by about 3 minutes per day in upstate New York (the exact time differs slightly from place to place).

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Spring Thaws and Maple Syrup

Fall foliage in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.

When most people think of maple trees in the Northeast, the image above comes to mind: a beautiful array of striking colors at their peak in September and October. But for some people, maple trees conjure up another image- the muddy, springtime season of maple sugaring. Maple sugaring season begins in the early spring, just as the trees are beginning to wake up from a long, cold winter.

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Can volcanoes affect the weather?

At the time of this writing, news outlets are reporting of the deadly tsunami, or tidal wave, that was triggered by the collapse of the Krakatoa volcano in Indonesia. While a tsunami is not itself a meteorological event (and can be discussed in more detail in a later post), the National Weather Service does have two branches, the National Tsunami Warning Center and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which are responsible for monitoring the oceans for conditions which may trigger a tsunami. Continue reading “Can volcanoes affect the weather?”