CR 28:143-153 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/cr028143

Manual synoptic climate classification for the east coast of New England (USA) with an application to PM2.5 concentration

Barry D. Keim1,*, Loren David Meeker2, John F. Slater3

1Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University, 327E Howe-Russell Science Complex, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803, USA
2Climate Change Research Center, University of New Hampshire, 56 College Road, Durham, New Hampshire 03824, USA
3Division of Engineering, Math, and Science, Daniel Webster College, 20 University Drive, Nashua, New Hampshire 03063, USA

ABSTRACT: This study presents a manual synoptic climate classification for the East Coast of New England with an application to regional pollution. New England weather was classified into 9 all-inclusive weather types: Canadian High, Modified High, Gulf of Maine Return, New England High, Atlantic Return, Frontal Atlantic Return, Frontal Overrunning–Continental, Frontal Overrunning–Marine, and Tropical Disturbance. Canadian High and Modified High weather are the dominant weather patterns at Boston, Massachusetts, while Tropical Disturbance, Gulf of Maine Return, and New England High weather types are the least frequent. Properties of the weather types were determined at 07:00 h Local Standard Time (LST) each day in Boston. The coldest and driest weather type is the Canadian High, while the hottest, most humid weather is generated by Frontal Atlantic Return. The synoptic weather classification system, applied to airborne fine particle mass concentrations with an aerodynamic diameter ≤2.5 µm (PM2.5), showed significant differences in concentrations between weather types: transport from the north and northwest had low PM2.5, while transport from the south and southwest had high PM2.5 concentrations. This climate classification system also has potential applications ranging from studies of insect migration to analyses of climate change.

KEY WORDS: synoptic climatology · New England · USA · Boston · weather types · applied climatology · PM2.5

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