An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Varun I. ’22

Sophomore Varun I. reflects on his experience with the Lakeside Summer Research Institute (LSRI). For more information on the LSRI, see teacher Michael Town’s introductory blog.

Every day, meteorologists publish weather reports on cities around the world. However, they sometimes ignore areas that experience different climates in the space of just a few miles. To get a better understanding of these various microclimates on a local level, I’ve spent my time in the LSRI 2019 gathering and comparing weather data collected at Lakeside School and Sea-Tac Airport. 

The first two weeks of my experience was spent writing code to read, plot, and perform statistical analysis on large data files (.csv). Eventually, I explored the data from the Lakeside weather station and was ready to apply my program to the Sea-Tac data. After running the new data and performing another set of graphing, I then combined both programs into one large program, generating six main comparison graphs for inspection. Below is my analysis on one of those graphs, the yearly accumulated rainfall in 2018 (Fig. 1).

Figure 1: Shows the yearly accumulated rainfall in 2018 for Sea-Tac and Lakeside.

Immediately, one will notice that the accumulation at Lakeside is consistently higher when compared to Sea-Tac. In fact, throughout the year, Lakeside increased from a five to 16 percent gap. This is likely due to North Seattle being targeted more by the Puget Sound Convergence Zone (PSCZ), which produces enhanced rainfall after a large-scale air flow splits around the Olympics and converges over Puget Sound. In both locations, there were also relatively dry springs and summers; however, at Lakeside there was slightly more rainfall during this period. Again, this can be likely attributed to the PSCZ. Finally, in February there was minimal rainfall when compared to the other winter months, suggesting that there was an influx of relatively dry air around Puget Sound during that time.