Ninety-seven inches plus of snow in Bostonian New England has got to have some good reason, and scientists have settled on the sun--not the absence of it--as the cause of it all.
According to Harlan T. Stetson, director of M.I.T.'s celestial research station at Needham, this is the worst year for sunspots in 200. And sunspots do not only cause static, radio blackouts, and northern lights, but also extremities of weather behavior.
Last summer Boston suffered some record heat waves, and this winter has already established itself as the peak in many eastern areas.
Sunspots cause electrodynamic waves in the upper atmosphere, which provoke the movements of warm and cold air masses, Stetson observes.
Peak of Cycle
The author of "Sun Spots in Action" and perhaps the greatest living authority on them, notes that this year is also riding the crest of the normal 11-year sunspot cycle.
Weather bureaus, Stetson admits, can make little practical use out of sunspot cycle data, since they only suggest trends and nothing more. Furthermore, it is is impossible to tell where the effect will be felt. Last winter the apex of sunspot activity was received in Europe, and this winter a shift to the North American Continent has occurred.
At the Blue Hills Observatory, however, Director Charles F. Brooks '12 took Stetson's theory with a grain of salt. "The sun has just as many spots in California," he commented, "and they're having the best weather in years."