Category Archives: Research Areas

12/29: A Perfect Snow in NYC

By Andy Newman for The New York Times:

The ideal city snowstorm, meteorological Platonists say, blankets the landscape without burying it, beautifies but does not burden, transforms and cocoons without paralyzing or even particularly inconveniencing.

Such an event is expected to come our way on Saturday.

Flakes should begin falling around 11 a.m., as a low pressure system passes south and east of the metropolitan area, giving children plenty of time to finish a hearty breakfast.

The temperature will hover in the mid-30s – just cold enough for the snow to safely stick, but no colder. The breeze will be sufficient to make cheeks rosy, but will not slash at the skin or penetrate down the necks of parkas.

For the better part of the day, the snow will continue – gently, never blinding. By the time it ceases for good shortly before midnight, two to four inches will have fallen – just enough, perhaps, to permit sledding.

“Definitely snowfall that can be plowed,” said Dan Hoffman, a National Weather Service meteorologist, “but definitely not crippling by any means.”

At least that’s what they’re forecasting. Who knows what will really happen.

NASA GOES captures Hurricane Sandy

Amazing images of Hurricane Sandy courtesy of NASA GOES satellites:

Video from NASA GOES online here.

You can also buy a print of a NASA GOES image from 20×200 with net revenue to benefit the American Red Cross – just one of many ways to help out the recovery efforts, of course.

Street Sensing: seeing tiny particles

If you’re in San Francisco, check out SPWS weather interpreter Tim Dye’s new project ‘Street Sensing: seeing tiny particles’, on Saturday, October 20 as part of a tech-art event in San Francisco at the Urban Prototyping exhibition.
‘Street Sensing: seeing tiny particles’ will use AirCasting to crowd source air quality measurements collected by citizens.  Attendees will have a chance to check out an AirCasting Air Monitor, LED Vest, and Android phone and troll the streets of downtown SF sensing tiny particles.

Read more about the project and event here http://sf.urbanprototyping.org/projects/street-sensing-seeing-tiny-particles/.

Details:
-Free and open to the public
-Saturday, October 20
-Time:  noon to 10 PM
-Location:  SOMA between 5th and 6th
-Schedule and line-up:  http://sf.urbanprototyping.org/exposition/lineup/

Happy Birthday Lewis Fry Richardson

Thanks to the Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of physicist and psychologist Lewis Fry Richardson, born in Northumberland, England (1881), who was the first to apply mathematical techniques to predict the weather accurately. During WWI, Richardson served as a driver for the Friends’ Ambulance Unit in France. During the intervals between transporting wounded soldiers from the front, he manually computed the changes in pressure and wind at two points. From this information, he wrote his 1922 book, Weather Prediction by Numerical Process. The problem with his theories was that it took him about three months to predict the weather for the next 24 hours. His system did not become practical until the advent of electronic computers after World War II.

Images of September 8th NYC tornadoes

From The New York Times:

Radar images / commentary from the US National Weather Service here.

Hurricane Isaac

From Rebecca J. Rosen for The Atlantic:

This comes from hint.fm, a collaboration of data-visualization stars Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg. Their wind map provides a nearly real-time glimpse of the wind flow around the United States, based on hourly data drawn from the National Digital Forecast Database. “So,” they write, “what you’re seeing is a living portrait.” (It looks even better on their site, so definitely click through to see it in its full glory.)

The map is always beautiful, even without a hurricane’s massive force. Today, though, it can give you a sense of just how far-reaching are Isaac’s effects, just how much of the country can feel the winds, literally, of a storm in the gulf.

For contrast, on the Wind Map’s gallery page you can see some different wind patterns from earlier this year

Newtown Creek wrapup

Thanks to Eric Sanderson of The Welikia Project and Kate Zidar from the Newtown Creek Alliance for illuminating discussion of the Newtown Creek’s unique landscape, history & post-industrial challenges — and for pointing out avenues for future engagement.  Also many thanks to Flux Factory for hosting the event, as part of their yearlong educational intiative: The Future of Your Neighborhood: Who Decides?

Thanks in particular to Christina Vassallo, Douglas Paulson and Lacey Tauber from Flux, and to all of the concerned citizens and neighbors who came out to the event.

Eric Sanderson with historic Newtown Creek map

Out Now: ‘The Weather Observer’s Handbook’

From the Cloud Appreciation Society:

We are very pleased to announce that ‘The Weather Observer’s Handbook’ by Stephen Burt is published today. The handbook provides a comprehensive, practical and independent guide to all aspects of making weather observations. It is ideal for both amateur observers looking for help in choosing their first weather instruments on a tight budget and for professional observers looking for a comprehensive and up-to-date guide.

The Cloud Appreciation Society gives info on the following discounts: You can buy it directly from Cambridge University Press at a 20% discount: In the UK, download the 20% discount flyer; in the US, vist www.cambridge.org/us/9781107026810 and enter the discount code: E2BURT.

7/26/12: Newtown Creek – Past, Present Future | Eric Sanderson and Kate Zidar

Thursday, July 26th 7-9PM
Flux Factory workshop in partnership with SP Weather Station

Newtown Creek: Past, Present, Future
with Eric Sanderson, Wildlife Conservation Society’s Welikia Project
and Kate Zidar, Newtown Creek Alliance 

Flux Factory: 39-31 29th Street, Long Island City
Free and open to the public

SPWS is pleased to partner with Flux Factory on the third workshop in Flux’s yearlong initiative, The Future of Your Neighborhood: Who Decides? This ongoing monthly series invites New Yorkers to effectively envision and enact their advocacy skills through open dialogue, and to unpack the assumptions that frame how we address neighborhood concerns.

The July workshop will focus on Newtown Creek: one of the most polluted industrial sites in America, bordering Flux Factory’s Long Island City neighborhood. Eric Sanderson of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Welikia Project will share historical research he’s collected on the creek and surrounding watershed, with the aim of making information available to artists, designers, city planners, and other interested parties for widespread use in restoring its original splendor. Kate Zidar, Executive Director of Newtown Creek Alliance, will present information on the current state of the creek, including how community members can participate in materializing visions for its future.

The Future of Your Neighborhood: Who Decides? will continue into 2013 with workshops on urban agriculture, historic preservation, sustainable transportation, and other topics near and dear to New Yorkers. If you have an idea for a workshop, please email christina[at]fluxfactory[dot]org.

This educational initiative is organized by Christina Vassallo, Douglas Paulson and Lacey Tauber. It is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The Welikia Project’s work on Newtown Creek is supported by the NYCEF Newtown Creek Fund administered through the Hudson River Foundation.

Big News Merger in the PWS World

After 17 years of aggregating data from Personal Weather Stations as an independent company, Weather Underground has been acquired by the Weather Channel.

Some  reactions…

Slate.com

“Whether  [The Weather Channel] will entirely replace its own forecasts with Weather Underground’s BestForecast is not immediately clear. The predicitions are often substantially different. Right now, for instance, Weather.com is predicting that it will be 93 degrees in my part of New York on the Fourth of July, while Weather Underground says 99.”

nytimes.com
“In an interview, David Kenny,  the chairman and chief executive of the Weather Channel Companies, praised the Weather Underground site for having a “hard-core audience” of passionate weather fans. Some of them, he admitted, have sour views of the Weather Channel, which they see as overly corporate and dependent on advertising.”

TechCrunch
” This deal will put Weather Underground’s awesome technology to use on a much bigger stage, bringing better information to a large number of people…”

This just received in the SPWS inbox:

Dear SP Weather Station Flux Factory,

As an invaluable member of our Personal Weather Station (PWS) community, I wanted you to be the first to know that Weather Underground, Inc. has become part of The Weather Channel Companies (TWCC). Your weather station data will remain an integral part of our forecast modelling, and we expect that the combined forecast technologies of the two companies will enable us to provide even more accurate custom forecasts for your station. The service that we provide PWS owners on wunderground.com will remain unchanged for now, and will only be improved in the long term.

With the increased audience reach that our union with TWCC provides, we hope to considerably expand our PWS community to further enhance the quality of our weather forecasts. With extra resources at our disposal, we will also be able to provide a greater level of support for our community members.

As always, we thank you for being part of our PWS network, and greatly appreciate all of the data you share with us. You can read my latest blog post for more information about the sale of wunderground to TWCC.

Kind regards,

Dr. Jeff Masters
Director of Meteorology