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Blue Hill
Notes from the Observer's Office
Members are Always Welcome
About our Facility
Winter 2009 Forecast
WINS Program Celebrates 10 Years
Skywarn Awareness Day December 6
Have Your Event at Blue Hill
About Us
Blue Hill Observatory Links
Notes from the Observer's Office
5th Lowest October Wind Speed
 The monthly average for October was the fifth lowest on record.

1.  11.8 in 1997
2.  11.9 in 1994
     11.9 in 2004
4.  12.0 in 2007
5.  12.2 in 2008

(MPH, averages are corrected comparable with the entire period
of record at Blue Hill).

37 Thunderstorm
Days in 2008
There were two thunderstorm days in October, bringing the total for the year to 37 days, which ties with 1906 for the second highest number of thunderstorm days in any year, behind only 40 days in 1918.
Blue Hill Observatory Members Are Always  Welcome

One of the benefits of membership is that you are welcome to visit the Observatory 365 days a year (as long as we have staff here to greet you!). 

We are open to the public for tours on weekends, but we are closed during the week when we host visits from community and school groups. 

If you are a member and would like to visit during the week, please contact us and we will do our best to welcome you to the Observatory. 

If you are hiking on the hill, and see the CLOSED sign on the door, please knock on the door and we will accommodate your visit whenever possible.

Click HERE to become a member of the Blue Hill Observatory.
About our Facility
The Blue Hill Observatory is a National Historic Landmark.

Our facility on top of Great Blue Hill has many resources, including a History Room and Library, climate archives, computer lab, and a backyard barbecue. 

From the tower roof, you can enjoy a 360 degree view of the Boston skyline, the mountains in central Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and Providence, Rhode Island.

Our gift shop, offering snacks, beverages and unique gifts, is open to the public on weekends.

Please come visit!
Join Our Mailing List
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Blue Hill Observatory P.O. Box 500
Milton, MA 02186

Executive Director Charles Orloff
(508) 776-1879

Program Director
Don McCasland
(617) 696-0562

November 2008
Issue 1
Welcome to Sky-mail!
Sky-mail is the new electronic newsletter of the Blue Hill Observatory Science Center. Sky-mail will keep you up-to-date on Observatory events, important weather news and milestones and future plans.

In this premier edition of Sky-mail we feature the winter weather forecast from one of the country's leading experts, Joe D'Aleo
Winter 2009 Forecast
Last Winter an I-90 Winter - How about 2008-09?
By Joseph D'Aleo, CCM, AMS Fellow

Last winter could be described as an "I-90 winter" with heavy snow north of I-90 and very little south. There were even some all-time seasonal snowfall records set in places like Burlington and St. Johnsbury, Vermont and Caribou, Maine. The December to February total in Concord, New Hampshire was also a record there. Boston had 52 inches of snow and Blue Hill Observatory had 66.5 inches which is 6 inches above normal.

This year we have a west QBO. The ENSO state is now neutral and is likely to be neutral to weak La Nina according to most ENSO models. This would mean more intraseasonal variability in conflict with the continuing low solar. My best guess is that we will see more variability than last year, but more persistence than most weak or neutral ENSO events.

The best analogs are 1961/62 and 1964/65 which are very similar with cold in many of the same places but extending more into the northeast with more Atlantic blocking. Those years had a major large vortex over western and central Canada extending down into the northern tier. The primary storm track was further south than last year with more snow in the Mid-Atlantic and southeastern New England, normal or below normal snow in New York City
D'Aleo map 1and below in northern New England.

Should La Nina come on stronger, as at least one climate model (NWS CFS) suggests will be so, the winter would end up more like 1973/74 and 1975/76 with much more of a southeast ridge and widespread warmth in the central and east. Right now ocean temperatures suggest the weaker La Nina or La Nada is more likely.

Could it become like that infamous weak La Nina, west QBO, solar minimum year of 1995/96? Not impossible of course but those kind of winters come around once in a hundred years or more. Snow that year may have had a boost from the final aerosol fallout from the Pinatubo eruption in 1991 and Raboul in 1994.

Be sure to get a copy of the Old Farmer's Almanac (Yankee Publishing) where I have a story "Is Global Warming on the Wane?" with a timeline of changes the last century and a discussion of the real factors behind climate change. See more on how the cooling has already started with global temperatures declining since 2002 on my popular web site

Donations are how Icecap is able to provide an alternative, more balanced look at the climate issue (donate button is on the site on the left). We will provide Blue Hill Observatory with 20% of what you donate if you will email me at afterwards and tell me you saw it here. That way, you can help two good causes. Enjoy the winter.
WINS Program Celebrates 10 Years
WINS logoThe Women in Natural Science (WINS) program is an educational initiative of the Blue Hill Observatory geared toward middle and high school aged girls from Boston and surrounding communities.  WINS seeks to inspire girls to learn about math, science and technology using a natural science curriculum and "hands on minds on" learning experiences.  This year, we are celebrating our 10 year anniversary.  For more information about the WINS program, please contact Stephanie Radner.
Skywarn Awareness Day - Saturday, December 6th
 skywarnJoin us for Skywarn Awareness Day on Saturday December 6th.
Come watch the Amateur Radio Operators as they contact Skywarn members around the nation. We will
fly an antenna off a kite if weather allows and tours of
the Observatory will be offered. All activities are free of charge to Observatory members. 10 AM to 4 PM.
Have Your Special Event at Blue Hill
blue hill logoAre you looking for a unique destination for your next meeting or special event?

How about the Blue Hill Observatory?  We have the perfect room for a small business or club meeting, birthday party or other special affair. Your guests can learn about the incredible history of the Blue Hill Observatory while enjoying the most beautiful view in southern New England. Call Charles Orloff at 508-776-1879 for reservation details.
From the Observatory Store
Bag, hats, mug
Get carried away with our new Blue Hill tote bag. 

This durable and attractive tote is perfect for use as a small grocery bag or book tote.  It makes a great holiday gift for your favorite weather enthusiast and is environmentally friendly, too!  Just $7.50

Special logo combo of mug, tote bag and embroidered cap (specify blue or gray) for just $25 (including tax, shipping, and handling).

Check out our other specials:
  • Purchase $50.00 worth of books from our online bookstore and get a Blue Hill Observatory logo tote bag FREE.
  • Buy the new book Weather: The Ultimate Book of Meteorological Events from Accord Publishing and get your choice of either Climate (Ochoa, Hoffman, Tin) or Extreme Weather (H. Michael Mogil), as well as a free tote bag, for just $67.50 (including tax, shipping and handling).
To order by phone call 617-696-0562 or come to the Observatory gift shop to see all of our great products and find out about other specials.
Blue Hill Observatory and Science Center
Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory, located at the top of a scenic mountain range south of Boston, is a unique American institution. Founded in 1885 by Abbott Lawrence Rotch as a private scientific center for the study and measurement of the atmosphere, it was the site of many pioneering weather experiments and discoveries. The earliest kite soundings of the atmosphere in North America in the 1890s and the development of the radiosonde in the 1930s occurred at this historic site.

Today, the Observatory is a National Historic Landmark and remains committed to continuing its extensive, uninterrupted climate record with traditional methods and instruments. The recently established Science Center expands this mission by enhancing public understanding of atmospheric science.

We are grateful for the generous support of members, friends and corporations who make it possible to continue our benchmark climate observations and educational outreach programs.  Please email Charles Orloff if you would like to make a donation to the Observatory.
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Blue Hill Observatory | P. O. Box 500 | Milton | MA | 02186