The person happiest about all this snow

Publish Date: 
March 17, 2015
Article Source: 
The Boston Globe

The cold snowy winter of 2014-2015 was predicted by AER scientists. Judah Cohen, who leads the seasonal forecasting team at Atmospheric and Environmental Research, is called "The person happiest about all this snow" because he accurately predicted the harsh winter for New England and the Eastern U.S.

The Boston Globe interviewed Cohen about the accuracy of this year’s AER winter seasonal forecast.

“Perhaps Cohen’s biggest claim to fame comes from the fact that he and his team’s seasonal forecasts of 'temperature and precipitation anomalies' have been right 75 percent of the time, a rate that tops those of the major government weather centers, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal government’s main weather forecaster. (In fact, Cohen and his team, who have been making predictions for 15 years, bested NOAA this winter.)”

“In the scientific literature our model remains the most accurate to date,” said Cohen.

“For the past four years, [local station WCVB TV’s chief meteorologist Harvey] Leonard has hosted Cohen twice a year for his long-term outlooks: in the fall for the winter forecast, and in the spring for the summer forecast. On Nov. 25, before Boston had any snow, here’s what Cohen told Leonard: “It’ll be an active and interesting winter. We’re predicting above normal precipitation for right along the East Coast. So a wet winter. But I’m especially bullish over the possibility of an above normal snowfall.”

Cohen and his AER team have pioneered a method for determining winter severity by analyzing the amount of snow cover in Siberia in the autumn. "Each October, Cohen looks at the amount and the rate of snowfall in Siberia that month to determine how snowy the eastern United States and Europe will be come winter. “The snow cover is the most efficient reflector of sunlight out into space, so more snow cover creates dense air masses that stay close to the ground,” he says. That cold, dense air spreads over the North Pole into North America and westward into Europe...But for him and us, the bottom line is that this past October was Siberia’s second most extensive snowfall on record, and Cohen knew the implications for Boston and other East Coast cities."

Read the full article "The person happiest about all this snow" by Bella English in The Boston Globe.