Meteorology versus Meteors
If a meteorologist studies weather, what do we call a person who studies meteors? In the days of ancient Greeks, meteorology was the study of the atmosphere, and anything that came out of it - rain, sleet, snow, hail. So, not too surprising that meteorology became the study of weather. But what about meteors? The science of meteors is called Meteorics. Accordingly, a student of meteors is a meteoriticist. A tongue twister to be sure.
Totals For Year 2016
Totals For Year 2015
Totals For Year 2014
Weather Discussion - February 2017
by Richard Schreiber
Was La Niña Responsible for a Very Warm February?
My February recap below highlights the warm weather we experienced during February this year. One indicator was the fact that here on Limestone Hill in our ten-year history we've never seen the lowest temperature as high as it was this February - just slightly below freezing.
So was La Niña to blame? Perhaps to a limited degree, but the Final La Niña Advisory issued by the NOAA Climate Prediction Center on February 9, 2017 declared that a weak and short-lived La La Niña was no longer active. This was evidenced by slightly below-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across the central equatorial Pacific and above-average SSTs increasing in the eastern Pacific. According to CPC chief Mike Halpert it was one of the weakest and shortest La Niñas on record. (USA Today)
Some meteorologists are predicting the onset of El Niño as early as spring in the Northern Hemisphere (March-May 2017). But the more likely scenario expressed by a majority of weather analysts is that the ENSO neutral period also known informally as "La Nada" will persist through the summer. This is the period between El Niño and La Niña, when temperatures are near average in the Pacific Ocean.
In the winter, La Niña usually brings cooler weather to the Northwest and warmer weather to the southern U.S. It has been a warmer-than-average winter in much of the South, and there was some impact on Alaska, western Canada and the Northern Plains in December and January when there were colder than usual temperatures.
Regardless of the extent to which La Niña influenced our local weather, were we warmer or colder than the predictions? Figures 1 and 2 below, when compared with our Portal data, show that we were right in line with temperatures anticipated for this region of the country. Due to an unexplained malfunction in our own weather station, we lost a couple of days of data. However, based on 26 days, the February average high on Limestone Hill was 64.4 degrees F and the average low was 43.5 degrees F.
Figure 1. Average high temperatures predicted for February 2017. (Source: weather.com)
So what's in store for March?
Weather.com predicts the following low and high temperatures for the month of March, depicted in Figures 3 and 4.
This February bore little resemblance to 2011, which saw some all time low temperatures in our part of the country. Up here on Limestone Hill we recorded a minus 0.4 degree low on February 3, 2011, and in valley locations things were even more extreme.
This year we experienced a very warm month when compared with 10 years of historic data. Here's the evidence:
- Mean temperature well above the 10-year average
- 2nd highest high temperature
- only a single day when the temperature fell below 32 degrees by just a fraction of a degree
- highest low temperature during the month (same day as above)
- lowest ten-year monthly heating degree days factor
February tends to be a windy month and this month's 48 mph gust came close to our record of 51 mph. We recorded five days with gusts above 30 mph which is right on average.
So far this year we have picked up 2.36 inches of precipitation, well above normal but not close to the 5.17 inches we had received by the end of February in 2010. But fortunately we weren't at the opposite extreme -- a scant 0.04 inch in the first two months of 2014.