Posts about weather.

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DC, Seoul Share Similar Climate — Until The Summer Rains Come

As I noted yesterday, we can expect similar weather here in Seoul as we experienced in Washington, D.C., where we lived until earlier this month. The two capital cities are located about the same distance from the Equator, along the 38th parallel north.

We’ll be in for something different this summer, however. That’s when the rains come. On average, Seoul gets about 35 inches of rain during July and August alone. To put that in perspective, our former home city, Austin, receives about the same amount annually. Seoul gets more rain in these months than most major cities in the American West, in fact.

Compare Austin, Seoul and Washington, D.C., in this chart:

The number of days with some rain also spikes a bit during the Seoul summer. Again, compare the cities:

How’s The Weather In Seoul? Pretty Temperate. (Sorry, Austin Friends)

Note: My family recently relocated to Seoul, where my wife is working as a foreign correspondent for NPR. This post is the first in an occasional series profiling the peninsula’s demographics and politics (and occasionally weather).

I enjoy Austin, and I still consider it “home,” even after moving to Washington, D.C., and, now, Seoul. But one of my top complaints about the Texas capital is the blazing summer heat. And by “summer” I mean March to October, essentially. In 2011, the year we left, there were 69 days in which the high temperature reached triple digits — only tying a record.

So, yes, I’ve enjoyed D.C.’s relatively temperate weather, despite the occasional winter snow or those few sticky days in August. But I wasn’t sure what to expect in Seoul, other than I suspected the winters were chilly. Turns out the temperatures are much like those in D.C., which makes sense because both cities are near the 38th north parallel above the Equator.

These simple charts show the average high and low temperatures in each place:

Tomorrow, I’ll chart the average number of rainy days — and the average monthly rainfall totals — in each place. Hint: Summer is the rainy season in Seoul.

Sources: (average temps.); Highcharts JS (charting library); ColorBrewer (color palette).

D.C.’s Snowy Winter (Ugh, In One Chart)

It’s been a bit more wintry in Washington, D.C., this winter. More so than usual, as one might guess from today’s snowfall.

The average annual snowfall total in the last three decades, according to the National Weather Service, is about 15 inches. This year we’ve received about 26 inches (and counting, as I look out the window). Last year, though, we received only about 3 inches of snow.

Clearly, this is a strange year. Here’s a chart of snowfall totals by month over time. This February and March were unusual:

DC snow

Mapping ‘Your Warming World’

New Scientist has published a fascinating interactive map related to increasing global temperatures over time:

The graphs and maps all show changes relative to average temperatures for the three decades from 1951 to 1980, the earliest period for which there was sufficiently good coverage for comparison. This gives a consistent view of climate change across the globe. To put these numbers in context, the NASA team estimates that the global average temperature for the 1951-1980 baseline period was about 14 °C.

Users can change the map, made by Chris Amico and Peter Aldhous, by time period and see an interactive chart with time series data. Here’s the global view for the last two decades:

Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 2.32.37 PM

And users can also zoom to their location (and the time series chart changes):

Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 2.32.50 PM

Mapping The White (Day After) Christmas

Here in D.C. we woke today to a surprise coat of snow/sleet, the first significant wintry mix of the season. Apparently, the precipitation came from a massive storm that’s dumped rain and snow — and sparked tornados — over a large swath of the country. The National Weather Service has a fancy (and new to me) radar map that shows the storms size and intensity. Check it out:

National Weather Service

National Weather Service

[Via my colleague, Mark Memmott]

Humidity, Sunshine Across The U.S.

With summer winding down, I wondered: How much does the amount of sunshine and humidity vary among U.S. cities?

First, this map shows the average percentage of possible sunshine by city. (Yuma, AZ, has sun about 90% of the year; Juneau, AK, gets it about 30%). Larger bubbles represent higher percentages of sunshine (click the images for larger, interactive versions):

This map shows (a slightly different) list of cities and their annual average relative humidity in the afternoon:

I’m not sure whether these maps are effective — or whether they should be maps at all. But I wanted to try another quick experiment with CartoDB.

Data source: NOAA | Download: Sunshine, Humidity

A Below-Average Birthday

Today’s my birthday, and the weather is great. What’s it been like for past birthdays, I wondered.

The answer: All over the place (sort of like my parents’ moving choices). This quick heat map shows how the weather varied over the years, with the minimum and maximum more than 40 degrees apart. The average is a balmy 80 degrees, a bit warmer than today:

Data sources: Weather Underground, Weatherbase