Saturday, March 1, 2008

School Colors: Turning Green

DC's Sidwell Friends School was featured this week on The Weather Channel's Forecast Earth program for being the first LEED Platinum certified K-12 school building in the world. Although there are now three more such schools, Sidwell's Middle School is still the only Platinum level building in the District of Columbia. The new building reduces energy consumption by 60% and municipal water consumption by 93%. The use of energy for lighting in particular is only 10-15% as much as that of a comparable building. Energy saving features include:

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Model Muttering

Note: This post is rated "G", suitable for all audiences; does not contain the weather "s" word.

Weather model skill as a function of year, from The Emergence of Numerical Weather Prediction, Peter Lynch, Cambridge University Press, 2006. Chart © ECMWF. Click image to enlarge.

In the nearly 60 years since the modern era of numerical weather prediction began, many orders of magnitude improvements have been made in both computer technology and the formulation and methods of solution of the equations describing the atmosphere. As a result, huge improvements have been made in the accuracy of daily weather forecasts. As good as the models have become, however, it's important to realize what they can and cannot do.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Some Drops in the Bucket

Moderate drought continues, especially south of the Potomac

Month-to-date % of normal precipitation, from National Weather Service. Click image to enlarge.

Rainfall amounts from today's showers have been generally light across the area, with totals around 0.1" through late afternoon. Thanks to the record-breaking rain at the beginning and reinforcing amounts in the middle of the month, February's official precipitation so far of over 4" will still go down in the official record books as substantially above normal, regardless of what happens by Leap Day on Friday. Counting today, the nine days with measurable precipitation are nearly equal to the monthly average of 9.5.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Bucket O' Bookmarks: Site for Kids, Teachers

The latest (January) issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society has a pointer to a new Weather Channel web site for kids. The WeatherED section contains a weather encyclopedia grouped into topics such as Hurricanes and Tropical Systems, Heat Waves, and Winter Storms. A glossary ranges from "absolute humidity" to "Zulu time". A Careers in Meteorology section summarizes job types and shows the resumes of several Weather Channel on-air personalities. Weather games include an interactive forecast which uses Flash technology to create a custom forecast display. Teacher resources (registration required) include "standards-based lesson plans" on several topics for various grade levels (3-5 and 6-10).

Image from The Weather Channel

Seasonal Outlook

Latest seasonal forecast: Click here.

Latest 3-month temperature outlook from Climate Prediction Center/NWS/NOAA.