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Blue Hill
April 2010
Issue 11
Thank you for more than 125 years of support!
Support BHO when you browse and shop on the internet
Greatest Places in Massachusetts: Please vote for BHO
March 2010 Observer's Office Report
WINS Program Update
Future Events
About The Blue Hill Observatory and Science Center
Thank you for over 125 years of support!
The Board of Directors and staff of the Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all of our members, volunteers, families, friends, and neighbors who participated in our 125th anniversary celebration, which took place the weekend of January 30-31, 2010.  Fireworks marked the occasion on the evening of January 30th, as has been the case every 25 years since Abbott Lawrence Rotch fired off rockets before taking the first observations at his new private weather Observatory on January 31, 1885.

125th luncheon 1125th fireworks 1125th luncheon 2

The weekend long celebration began with a luncheon featuring esteemed guest speakers Paul Kocin and Dr. Louis Uccellini, followed by a gala reception and fireworks at the Observatory.  On Sunday and Monday, the Observatory was open to the public and visited by hundreds of well wishers.

125th fireworks 3125th luncheon 3125th fireworks 4

Abbott Lawrence Rotch, an MIT graduate, became the first professor in meteorology at Harvard University and was the first to sound the upper atmosphere using kites to lift weather instruments aloft in the 1890s and early 1900s.  He later became very interested in early flight and hosted the Harvard Boston Aero Meet in September 1910 - only the third such meet anywhere in the world - which featured such flyers as the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss.  Plans are currently in progress to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this event in September 2010.

To learn more about the history of Blue Hill Observatory, visit the History page on our website.
Support BHO when you search and shop on the internet
Please download the free Blue Hill Observatory Science Center GoodSearch toolbar to IE or Firefox! Once you add this custom toolbar for IE or Firefox, each time you shop at one of the more than 1,300 participating stores, a percentage of what you spend will be donated to the BHOSC at no extra cost to you! You could even save money as the toolbar provides coupons and deals. The toolbar also has a search box, and each time you search the internet about one cent is donated to the BHOSC.

goodsearch toolbar

As an added incentive, $1 will be donated to the BHOSC for every toolbar downloaded between 10 AM EDT April 6 through 10 AM EDT April 9, 2010!  Please download the toolbar today!!

NOTE: The GoodSearch Toolbar does not contain any spyware or adware and never collects any personally identifiable information. There is no registration for end-users to install and use the toolbar.

Vote for BHO as one of the 1000 Greatest Places in MA
bho current imageDo you think Blue Hill Observatory is one of the greatest places in Massachusetts?  We certainly do!!  We have maintained 125 years of continuous, homogeneous weather observations, we welcome over 10,000 guests every year, and we work with DCR and the Friends of the Blue Hills to preserve and protect our environment.  Please follow the link below to nominate BHO as one of the 1000 Greatest Places in Massachusetts!

The Smassachusettspecial Commission Relative to Designating 1000 Great Places in Massachusetts was created by an Act of the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick on January 15, 2009. Its mission is to identify and recognize the 1000 most truly special places in the Commonwealth, in order to celebrate pride in our history and culture, increase knowledge of our natural surroundings, and encourage regional and international tourism.

Click on this link to nominate the Observatory:

Observer's Office Report for March 2010
With 18.81 inches of precipitation, March 2010 was the wettest month of any month on record at the Blue Hill Observatory, just narrowly passing the long-standing record of 18.78 inches in August 1955.  March was also the 4th warmest March on record, with the average mean temperature running 6 degrees above normal.  Below is a summary of the month, followed by a list of the many new daily records that were set in March 2010 and monthly records and rankings for temperature and precipitation.

March 2010 Summary
Avg Max Temp: 49.7 deg F [+4.9]
Avg Min Temp: 34.9 deg F [+7.1]
Avg Mean Temp: 42.3 deg F [+6.0]
Mean Temp (corrected): 41.5
Precipitation: 18.81 inches [+14.02]
Snowfall: 7.9 inches [-3.6]
Heating Degree Days: 696 [-198]
Mean Sea-level pressure: 30.03 inches
Mean Wind Speed (corrected): 14.6 mph
Prevailing Direction: NNE [14%]
Peak Wind Gust: 55 mph NE [2nd]
Mean Vapor Pressure: 5.8 mb

New Daily Records for March 2010
3/14 - new daily record rainfall of 4.95 ins.
surpasses the previous record of 1.72 ins. in 1974
3/14 - new daily record peak wind gust of 67 MPH ENE
surpasses the previous record of 66 MPH WNW in 1982
3/15 - new daily record rainfall of 2.86 ins.
surpasses the previous record of 1.33 ins. in 1972
3/19 - new record high maximum temperature of 70F;
the previous record was 69F in 1903.
3/20 - new record high minimum temperature of 47F;
the previous record was 46F in 1976.
3/23 - new daily record rainfall of 2.52 ins.
surpasses the previous record of 1.58 ins. in 1903
3/30 - new daily record rainfall of 2.92 ins.
surpasses the previous record of 2.82 ins. in 2001

March 2010 Monthly Rankings, Records, and Statistics

Greatest March Precipitation (inches)
1. 18.81 in 2010
2. 13.07 in 2001
3. 10.96 in 1968
4. 10.02 in 1983
5. 9.53 in 1953

Greatest Monthly Precipitation (inches)
1.  18.81 in March 2010
2. 18.78 in August 1955
3. 17.32 in June 1998
4. 14.72 in October 2005
5. 13.73 in June 1982
6. 13.07 in March 2001
7. 12.60 in December 1969
8. 12.37 in September 1999
9. 12.31 in June 2006
10. 11.76 in October 1996

Greatest Jan-Mar Precipitation, inches:
1. 27.91 in 2010
2. 23.18 in 1956
3. 21.70 in 1983
4. 21.21 in 1958
5. 21.03 in 1953
6. 20.00 in 1998

Wettest consecutive months, inches
1. 25.50 in May-Jun 1998
2. 23.88 in Feb-Mar 2010
3. 21.36 in Aug-Sep 1955
4. 21.29 in Jul-Aug 1955
5. 21.19 in Nov-Dec 1969

Greatest March single-storm precipitation, inches
1. 9.41 on 13-15 March 2010
2. 7.75 on 17-20 March 1968
3. 4.20 on 21-23 March 2001
4. 4.11 on 31 March - 1 April 1997 (snow)
5. 3.64 on 5-7 March 2001 (snow)

Greatest single-storm precipitation, inches
1. 12.77 on 18-19 August 1955
2. 9.41 on 13-15 March 2010
3. 8.67 on 5-7 October 1962
4. 8.47 on 19-21 October 1996
5. 7.87 on 15-17 September 1933
6. 7.75 on 17-20 March 1968
7. 7.10 on 12-14 June 1998
8. 7.05 on 12-14 October 1895

Warmest March Mean Temperature, corrected, deg F
1. 43.5 in 1946
2. 42.7 in 1945
3. 42.2 in 1903
4. 41.5 in 2010
5. 41.2 in 1921
6. 40.8 in 2000
7. 40.7 in 1977

Warmest March Average Minimum Temperature, deg F
1. 35.3 in 1945
2. 35.1 in 1946
3. 34.9 in 2010
4. 34.0 in 1903
5. 33.8 in 1973

WINS Program Update
WINS logoWe are happy to report that we have been able to continue serving many girls in our Women in Natural Science (WINS) program, even during these difficult economic times, with the generous support of The United Way, as well as corporate and individual donors. 

A group of girls from the Bethel African Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain have been participating in weather, cloud, and climate studies this year.  Another group of girls from the Galvin Middle School in Canton have been learning about the geology of Massachusetts and careers in geology from Mariel Schottenfeld, a former Galvin student, who is currently a Research Assistant at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  We also attended the Girls Get Connected conference at Simmons College.

The 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. 

For more information about the WINS program, please email
Stephanie Radner

Future Events
We are happy to be participating in many off site events and hosting many programs and events here at BHOSC as well.

Please contact Don McCasland at or 617-696-0562 with any questions or to schedule an event or program.

Date: Saturday April 10
10AM - 4PM
Location: Trailside Museum, 1904 Canton Avenue, Milton, MA
Event Details:  Trailside Museum Spring Open House
Come join us at the Trailside Museum's Spring Open House FREE ADMISSION DAY! See what is new at the Trailside Museum and learn about upcoming programs as well as volunteer opportunities. There will be live animal presentations, pond walks, crafts and activities and a special presentation by Tom French on Rare and Endangered Species in Massachusetts.
Click HERE for more information.

Date: Saturday April 17 (raindate Sunday April 18)
Time: 10:30 AM - 2:30 PM
Location: Sholan Farms, 1125 Pleasant Street, Leominster, MA
Come fly your own kite or purchase a new one to fly. Kite sales benefit Blue Hill Observatory. 
Click HERE for more information.

Date: Monday April 19
Time: 10AM - 4PM
Location: Blue Hill Observatory
Event Details: Red White and Blue Kite Fly and Kite Tours and General Tours at BHOSC. Learn to build a kite and learn about kites in meteorology $10.00 includes a kite kit for any age. (5.00 for adults, $3.00 for ages 6-17 for tour only)

Date: Saturday April 24
Time: 10AM -2:30 PM
Location: Hanover,MA 
Event Details: Kite Making in the morning from 10:00 - 11:00AM and 11:15AM to 12:15PM at
Hanover Public Library, Kite Flying in the afternoon at Conservation Land on Main Street in Hanover from 12:30 to 2:30PM.
Click HERE for more information.

Date: Saturday May 1
Time: 9AM - 4PM
Location: Concord, MA
Event Details: Earth Day Parade and Festival
Click HERE for more information.

Date: Saturday May 15
Time: 10AM - 4PM
Location: Blue Hill Observatory
Event Details: Spring Open House at Blue Hill Observatory

Date: Saturday May 15
Time: 4PM - 9PM
Location: Clay Science Center, Brookline, MA
Event Details: Astronomy Day at the Clay Center
Click HERE for more information.
About The Blue Hill Observatory
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 contact Charles Orloff by phone: (508) 776-1879 or email: if you would like to make a donation to the Observatory.
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blue hill logo     Charles Orloff, Executive Director
     (508) 776-1879

     Don McCasland, Program Director
     (617) 696-0562
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