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The Science Behind Your Morning Weather Report

Weather forecasts can predict the next three days with reasonable accuracy. But when it comes to forecasting a week or more into the future, it’s another story.

Professor James Booth (City College of New York and The Graduate Center, CUNY) is hoping to change that. “We know the models we’re using have difficulty capturing things like clouds and precipitation, which can easily turn serious in under a week without us knowing,” he says.

After previous work on how weather events like wind and rain relate geometrically to a storm’s center, Booth is now focusing on weather predictability. “Can we constrain the path of the storm’s center over longer forecast time scales? And, if so, can we use that information, plus the geometry we already know, to improve predictability on lengthier time scales of weather impacts?”

While most storms in the Northeast move out over the ocean, the few that cut up along the coast often end up doing the most damage. Storms taking that path, Booth found, tend to be influenced by atmospheric blocks, or organized systems that force air streams to slow down or blow in atypical directions.

Booth’s recently co-authored papers — including “Arctic Cut-off High Drives the Poleward Shift of a New Greenland Melting Record” in Nature Communications and “The Relationship Between Extratropical Cyclone Steering and Blocking Along the North American East Coast” in Geographical Research Letters — propose that atmospheric blocks can steer specific storms. Although the atmospheric science community has always accepted a possible correlation, Booth provides robust statistics documenting the relationship between blocks and different storm paths over the past 40 years.

Beyond SUM

Explore This Work
Arctic Cut-off High Drives the Poleward Shift of a New Greenland Melting Record
Nature Communications, 2016
The Relationship Between Extratropical Cyclone Steering and Blocking Along the North American East Coast
Geographical Research Letters, 2017

Work By
James Booth (Professor, Earth Sciences)Profile

Colleges & Schools
The City College of New York
The Graduate Center

Bonus Content
A Better Read on the Week’s Weather (The Graduate Center)

Related Terms