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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

Meet the Computer Scientist You Should Thank For Your Smartphone’s Weather App

"A weather app is a nifty tool that predicts your meteorological future, calculated with the strength of radar, algorithms and satellites around the world. Today, computerized weather prediction—like moving pictures or flying by plane—is so commonplace that smartphone-users don’t give it a second thought. But at mid-century, the idea that you might be able to forecast the weather days or even weeks ahead was a tantalizing prospect."

"One of the most important breakthroughs in weather forecasting took place in the spring of 1950, during an experiment at the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. For over a month straight, a team of scientists and computer operators worked tirelessly to do something meteorologists had been working toward for nearly a century: predict the weather mathematically."

Daily Departure from Normal, January 1 – May 28, 2017

Warm nights and some warm days mean that 2017 so far has been one of the warmest years on record. While we had some cold periods, overall with mild nights compared to average, most days ended up being warmer then the historical 1980-2010 records. Climate change hasn't stopped changing the weather to being more mild in Albany, especially at night, even if we haven't broken that many high temperature records for the year.

Data Source: January-April, Local Climate Data Publication. May, Preliminary Monthly Climate Data (CF6). http://www.weather.gov/aly/AlbanyLCD

Weekly Rain Accumulation

A little bit of rain expected today, and a lot more rain on Wednesday through Friday morning. MIght add an additional inch of rain to the monthly total. Not a drought for sure this month.

This interactive graph shows how much rain is expected to accumulate over the next five days. Gray bars represent clouds, with no new accumulation, yellow bars represent sun, which will start to dry things out.

Major Dry Spells (PDF)

Meteorologists say that Albany's climate is getting wetter. One effect of the wetter climate in Albany is that major dry spells are becoming less common in the Albany-area. Indeed between 1995 and 2015, there was not a single period of 14 days without some sort of precipitation. That is the longest recorded period without a dry period in Albany. We did have a dry periods during the spring 2015 and the winter of 2016, but both just barely over the definition (14 days and 15 days).

Heating Degree Days, Average vs. 2007-2017

The months of January and February have been somewhat below normal for the number of Heating Degree Days this year. That said, this frigid month of March may mean that we get closer to the climate normals for Albany as the year progresses.

Data Source: Monthly Heating Degree Days, NYSERDA. https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/About/Publications/EA-Reports-and-Studies/Weather-Data/Monthly-Cooling-and-Heating-Degree-Day-Data

Difference Between Record High and Normal High

Last Friday the mercury pushed up to 74 degrees, the warmest temperature ever recorded during meteorological winter in Albany. With normal high temperatures for that day around 37 degrees, that day was 37 degrees above normal. I remarked on Friday that if we had days that were 37 degrees above normal in the hottest period of summer, we would have reached 120 degrees. But it almost never reaches above 100 degrees in Albany -- at least not since the 1950s.

The reason is we have hot days in summer, but there isn't that kind of energy in the atmosphere to push record breaking heat more then 10-15 degrees above normal in summer. In contrast, in the winter, it's not unusual to have days 15-25 degrees above normal, and days that are 25-40 degrees above normal are not unheard of during the winter. The greatest difference in record high minus normal high occurred on January 13, 2007, when it reached 71 degrees on a day when the normal high is 30 degrees. That's a 41 degree difference.

The formula used to calculate this chart is highest recorded temperature minus average high temperature for the day, based on records collected at the Albany International Airport by NOAA.