Archive Page 2


I’m seein lights before my very eyes!

I’ve had a few folks ask me about the Aurora Borealis, the “Northern Lights”…so I have a little info for you. The link below is helpful for spelling out time, direction, and likelihood for viewing…so check out that link. I will tell you from a weather forecasting perspective, your best shot is early this evening, until maybe 11pm…because after that, clouds will be rolling back in.
Here’s the link for your viewing pleasure:


So, you think its cold here?!?

There was a place in Russia that has held the world record for coldest place on earth, some ridiculous number close to MINUS (-)128F. (Take a moment, sit back in your chair right now, and imagine what just -28F itself would fee like…then subtract another HUNDRED in your mind! Talk about “Blowin your mind”!)

Well, researchers have found what they believe to be a NEW low! It’s interesting to keep in mind that there are few ways to measure temps so cold. Realize that alcohol and mercury thermometers will freeze well before reaching -100F. So, just measuring it is a serious challenge!

But here’s the article…so keep in mind, when you think Jack Frost is nippin at your nose here in CNY, it’s pocket change, compared to this place!
And yes, I included two pics, one of the Abominable Snowman (from Rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer cartoon), and of Han Solo (in Carbonite freeze) to set the mood!
Abominable Snowman!HanSoloCarboniteFreeze


For those curious about how Lakes affect weather

We in the Weather world talk a lot about the Lakes, and their “effect(s)” on us…and for good reason. All things work together, and it’s up to us “scientist types” to figure out how and how much. Lake Ontario is notorious for bringing downwind locations (usually east or southeast) a ton more snow than other areas that are just hit by the storm itself, whose winds get the Lake into action after the fact. The Lake also has a cooling effect on us in Spring time, as the air heats up from longer days, but the Lake keeps things cooler (and more tranquil, thunderstorm-wise), downwind too.

But, do you realize that if the winds aren’t “strong enough” to see visible effects, there are still things happening, where the Lake (and any lake) is interacting with the atmosphere above it, but not visible to the eye.

In that vein, here’s a fairly technical article (you are forewarned!) on the topic of lake/air interaction in general…not specific to Ontario, but it does actually include data regarding other local lakes!

Read on, if so inclined…


Look out! Comet ahead!

I remember almost a year ago, reading about an exciting event to come this very month. A newly discovered comet was going to come very close to our orbit, making for anything from a “spectacular” to a “too close for comfort” pass to Earth. Well, as time has passed, astronomers have found they’ve miscalculated a bit, and it’s not quite as close as they thought. But, it is still something to behold in the night skies…and it’s peak for viewing is this week into next week…

Here are a couple articles on it, so rather than repeat details on it, please do feel free to read on.

Details on viewing

Details on viewing


Typhoon Haiyan, strongest ever?

Last week, I mentioned that a monster “Super-Typhoon” was about to crush the Philippines, and that’s exactly what happened the next 2 days…devastating the entire region.
It doesn’t matter from a humanity point of view, but this article goes into the difficulty of determining if the storm was the strongest on record.
It’s important to point out, that when you hear the word, “ever”, that is a very very bad to use. There are stories of bad storms going back through Biblical days, but there is no data available to measure storms pre-1775, so to use “worst ever”, is really bad science and bad reporting. What can be said is “worst ON RECORD”.

Nevertheless, here’s the article, detailing the issue:


Hurricane season a total washout :)

First of all, this is GOOD news!
I don’t know anyone, outside of those in the weather world, who actually want or enjoy tropical storms.
Because I read and listen to all weather related topics so much, I heard all the dire predictions for this current hurricane season, back in May-June. I remember my first thoughts being, “You pretend to know more than you do, folks”, and “Why do I get the feeling after hearing/seeing the forecasters, that they come off like they root for this to happen?” As a Meteorologist, those would be bad attitudes towards our profession. I would guess many lay-people out there felt the same feelings when you heard it, also.

In any case, IN SPITE of dire forecasts, it is turning out to be (with 30 days to go) one of the quietest tropical seasons on record. Even as recently as August, when the “experts” were given a chance to “reshape” their forecasts, they stuck by their guns. Guess what? Isn’t happening.

I would simply state that, the science is simply not as far along as some would have you believe. A 5 day forecast can be highly accurate. A 7 day forecast is worthwhile, when done by a trustworthy expert. Once you get beyond 10 days, you HAVE to withdraw into “trends”, and “above/below norm” projections. The Farmer’s Almanac is only correct on random days because if you pool enough days together, you are bound to randomly hit on SOME of them. Even if I called for sunny days for the next 365 days, I would be guaranteed to hit at least a 3rd of them, correct? But would you consider that a “SKILL”? Of course not!

In the same way, once beyond 10 days, it has to be regarded as a “trend”.
Yes, there are large-scale issues that you can analyze and incorporate into projections, but there are far, far too many micro things going on, impossible to keep constant track of, the combination of which, produce error, over time. It’s the butterfly effect. The INITIAL error can be tiny, but over days, weeks, the error grows, to the point where entire unanticipated weather patterns develop (or don’t develop) because of it. So, while the error MAY NOT show up on my 7 day forecast, if I projected out to, say, 30 days, I guarantee you, my own errors would produce a random-chance forecast, where I am only right by day 15 or 20 because of the randomness effect.

Bottom line? We know some things. But we don’t even know what we still don’t know! And there’s way more unknown out there than known yet. That makes for poor forecasting and “over-promise/under-deliver” forecasts.

And it is also worth stating that most Meteorologists come in with biases, just as you do about topics you care about. These unfortunate biases often interfere with their skill set. I have met many a Meteorologist who will FIND ways to rationalize much more snow than is coming, or far more severe weather than should be expected. The best Meteorologist is the one in the room who goes into his/her day with no preconceived ideas of what will happen and no rooting interest in one type of weather…over another. That is who I try to be, every day, for you.

By the way, I will have my “Winter Weather Outlook” coming your way November 6th, at 11PM. In it, I will give you my thoughts on the timeliness or tardiness of the start to Winter, how much snow (roughly) we may see across all of CNY, and how temps may compare to average. I’ve been fortunate. 2011-12 turned out spot on, and 2012-13 did as well. (I’m feeling a tad bit nervous because we both know, eventually, I’ll miss!)

I will turn you to an article that just came out on the “disappointing” Hurricane season. Look for the ways in which the experts don’t own up to their mistakes, and make excuses. They weren’t making excuses in August, when they were still so sure!

Experts stymied!

Experts stymied!


Are you Master of Orion?

There was a great, great home video game of that name in the early 90s, but in this case, I am referring to another meteor shower! It peaks October 21-22, which is less than a week away. It’s called the Orionids, it averages 25-50 per hour…which is nothing to sneeze at…you’ll wanna look in the south sky in the post-midnight hours, and they are said to be fast and streaky in the sky.
View of a shooting star