Archive for April, 2014

Snow-covered golf courses may have helped western Mass.
April 27, 2014

By Meteorologist Mike Skurko

After a long, cold, snowy winter, I was pleased to see some local golf courses were actually in pretty good shape for some early-season rounds this April.  This article I stumbled upon from the United States Golf Association may help explain why.  Prolonged snow cover can actually help protect and insulate the turf over the winter (although a sheet of ice is a completely different story).

USGA Experts Explain: Continuous snow coverage on putting greens

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April snow not uncommon
April 19, 2014

By Meteorologist Mike Skurko

Many people had a rude awakening with snow blanketing their cars on Wednesday morning.  This brush with snow seemed “unusual” to most, that we’ve already put winter behind us and shouldn’t have to deal with snow for another several months.

Climatologically speaking, a little bit of snow in April is not uncommon.  Here are the month-by-month “normals” for snowfall in the Pioneer Valley:

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The 0.2 inches of snow officially recorded at Bradley Int’l on Wednesday morning puts our 2013-2014 season total at 51.5 inches.

Take a #GlobalSelfie on Earth Day
April 12, 2014

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By Meteorologist Mike Skurko

This Earth Day, April 22, NASA is encouraging people around the world to take a selfie – a picture of yourself enjoying your outside environment.  NASA will use the images in a massive collage to recreate the iconic “Blue Marble” picture of Earth (seen below).

All you have to do is upload your picture to one of five social media sites on April 22 – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or Flickr.  Use the tag #GlobalSelfie on Twitter, Instagram, or Google+.  You can also add it to the #GlobalSelfie event page/group on Facebook or Flickr.

The final image will be recreated by NASA and revealed in May.

This project is a part of NASA’s Earth Right Now campaign, which is to raise environmental awareness and recognize NASA’s earth-monitoring efforts, including the launch of five new missions this year.  More information can be found on NASA’s official page for the #GlobalSelfie event.

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Edmond Halley and meteorology
April 3, 2014

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By Meteorologist Mike Skurko

If you’ve been watching the reboot of the science documentary series Cosmos on FOX, a recent episode featured Halley’s Comet.  Named after the 17th century English astronomer Edmond Halley, you may have picked up on the brief reference of Halley’s contributions to meteorology.

According to Princeton University, Edmond Halley was known for creating the first meteorological map.  Published in 1686, “An Historical Account of the Trade Winds, and Monsoons, Observable in the Seas between and near the Tropicks, with an Attempt to Assign the Phisical Cause of the Said Wind,” Halley created a map of predominant ocean winds based on sailor’s and his own observations.

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In Halley’s article, he hypothesizes that the ocean circulations are a result of solar heating of large areas of the ocean.  This concept is true, although other factors are present in determining ocean winds as well.  More importantly, this became widely recognized as the first weather map, well ahead of its time as weather maps did not become common until the early 18th century.

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