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Buffalo State Expert: Climatologist Looks Closely at Region’s Weather

Buffalo State Expert: Climatologist Looks Closely at Region’s Weather

Posted: September 2, 2014

Stephen Vermette, a climatologist who is a professor in the Geography and Planning Department, has been studying Western New York weather for many years. “Our weather offers so many opportunities for research,” said Vermette, who coordinates the meteorology and climatology programs at Buffalo State.

His work has led him to look at the region’s weather through the lenses of art and history as well as science. He helped to present the Charles E. Burchfield: Weather Event exhibition at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, and he is looking forward to celebrating the 64th anniversary of the day the sun disappeared on September 24.

“We look at the weather in context,” said Vermette, “and we investigate claims that local practices such as the use of the Lake Erie ice boom affect our weather, and even how oceanic and atmospheric events half a globe away affects Western New York’s weather and climate.” With both graduate and undergraduate students aiding in his research, Vermette is investigating trends in the region’s weather and comparing them to models, including climate change models. “Over the last several decades, our seasons have changed,” he said. “We have set more high-temperature records and less low-temperature records.”

Vermette’s fascination with weather and climate has led him to encourage students to celebrate seasonal events such as the fall equinox and Groundhog Day as well as to participate in research.

Most Western New Yorkers are familiar with the saying, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes; it’ll change.” Vermette, noting the impact of lake effect and the localized weather bands it can create, said, “Here, we can also say, ‘If you don’t like the weather, go down the road five miles—it’s probably different.’ There is no better place to be than Buffalo State for anybody interested in weather.”

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