Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened on Veterans Day

Armistice Day commemorates the end of hostilities on The Western Front of World War One. It went into effect at eleven o'clock in the morning: "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918. Armistice Day became Veterans Day after World War Two. I've always felt the day's solemn weight, and I try to thank any Veterans I meet on their day. My father and uncle both served in WW2, Dad was a Navy SeaBee in the Aleutian Islands, Uncle George survived the Battle of the Bulge.

In the font-driven world of Social Media on the internet, this year Veterans Day gets special attention because it looks so good: 11|11|11

Thousands, if not millions of snarky geeks have been riffing on the date all day. Lost in the avalanche of tweets, Facebook status updates, and blog posts is the name of the first wag to see corduroy in the elevens lined up... voilà, Corduroy Day! or Corduroy Appreciation Day. Someone's thinking Big too: National Corduroy Day and International Corduroy Day!

I'm amazed that the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The New Yorker all had print on the fabric's big day.

I'm not surprised that Twitter was the launching pad for so much snarky fun.The Twitter hashtag  #Corduroy went viral, sucked me in (duh!) and then I searched Corduroy People. There's an awful lot of us on Twitter!

Who knew there was a @CorduroyClub?

Corduroy food? @badfeather asked: "Has ramen been proposed as a potential food? Dried as rumpled, wet as deconstructed?"

See what I mean?

It's all great fun for CorduroyNation I suppose, though it is bad form to have so much goofy fun on an otherwise solemn holiday...and holiday doesn't set right for me either.

Oh, I understand that "Holiday" morphed from "Holy Day"...but I feel the pangs of guilt when I'm doin' a spit take while reading some snarkmeister's fractured funny business on such a weighty day.

Friday, November 11, 2011


It's been two days since I pulled 15lb crab pots thirty or so times, and my sacroiliac area is still singing to me. Opting for rest and hydration, I did some digging through the solar and climate science that's recently come down the pike.

While our NorCal weather has been trending dryer and warmer compared  to the forecast models, on our horizon there is a lot of climate and weather science news that bears on our impending Winter.

Back in early Summer I found and blogged about a possible new indicator that might help forecast the coming Winter regime. Scientists believe that the Autumn snow cover in Siberia and Northern Scandinavian Europe is directly correlated with North American winter's severity. The National Science Foundation has a good five page overview of the new metric. It's much more complete than the article I linked in my "Foot Dragging" post.

Today, I went looking for the Siberian Snow Cover Extant to shore up my gut feeling forecast of "75%-85% of average precipitation, and colder than average" My web search lead me to NOAA's National Ice Center where the Europe/Asia Ice Extant images reside. Past years of images are archived here.

This year's images show less snow cover than last year. A simple interpretation of the data suggest that we're in for less snowfall than last winter, however this metric hasn't yet proved to be the be all-end all predictor that we're all looking for. Other forces come to bear on the system, and I've been stumbling over them for a few weeks now.

 All are pointing to cooling trends in the Northern Hemisphere.

First up is the National Snow and Ice Data Center Report that says the Arctic Sea Ice reformed in October 40% faster than the average between 1979 and 2000.

Though the Climate Prediction Center's November 90 Day Climate Outlook Discussion is still a week away, October's Discussion said we've got a good La Niña going, and unlike last year's La Niña, this year's model features Ocean Temperature Anomalies that are much deeper than last year. The cold water extends to 100 meters deep.

There's been some interesting Space Weather lately, some huge Sunspots hurled some high energy stuff at Earth and wowed Aurora Watchers as far south as Tennessee. NASA published it's November Solar Forecast which hints at another 1°C of cooling on Earth by 2013.

A little more than two weeks ago, I blogged about @kcraFinan's La Niña Explainer and wrapped it up with some thoughts on the Sunspot Cycle's possible influence on our weather. Well today, my Sunsopt Ship came in!

I found this paper by Nicola Scafetta that found several solar cycles that correlate with warming and cooling periods in the climate record going back to 1650. Scafetta cites observable Aurora Borealis Cycles of 9, 10–11, 20–21, 30 and 60 years. The Authors argue that the aurora records reveal a physical link between climate change and astronomical oscillations!

In the macro, it's going to take a while for the gravity of this discovery to sink into my Weather Geek Brain. I've been waiting years for evidence of the Sun's hand on our climate...I'm not sure I can accept closure all at once.

In the micro-climates of the snowmaker's world, conditions up in the Tahoe Sierra have turned against the resorts. Warming daytime highs, and a lack of mixing winds have allowed a temperature inversion regime to set in. After almost six days of 'round the clock operations, the guns and fans have been silent for three days now.

Mark Finan's forecast for Friday's storm says it's yet another in this Fall's string of  "Not As Much As Forecast"...did I mention that this system's first name was "Thursday's Storm"?

Yep, a day late and 6 inches short...again.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bounty From The Bay

Tonight we enjoyed another Classic San Francisco Treat. Steamed Dungeness Crab with sourdough bread and a California wine...made all the more special by the this case family.

Dinner was served in the dining room because we all wouldn't fit at the kitchen table. Your humble crab pot puller was joined by the Siskiyou Wing of the family, Sister K and her Hubby, and our Mom. The Siskiyou Wing contributed a Thai Hot and Sour Soup with coconut milk and a nice Pinot Grigio to join the Blanc de Noir and Chardonney.

The conversation was warm, the crab sweet and nutty, and the weather the bubbly. We tried to decide when we'd celebrate Thanksgiving. With all the families in the family now, picking when to holiday gets a little complicated...logistically speaking. As the hold-out single guy (and Thanksgiving Chef) it's only the weather that informs my availability.

I've been keeping a close eye on the remote sensors and webcams that confirmed the warming trend the NWS forecasters touted as they walked back the latest cold front's precipitation content and arrival time.

I hate to sound like a stuck record, but each of these Fall Systems is thumbing it's nose at the Forecast Models...arriving later than the models predict, and coming in at less than advertized strength. It may be a little premature to call a let's say it's trending towards a trend.

I'm liking my 75%-85% of average precipitation call for the Winter more with each storm. It will definitely be colder than average...take that to the bank.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dungeness Crabs In Tomales Bay

Owwww, my achin' everything!

What a beautiful day on the water! It was an impossibly nice day up in Marin County. SturgeUrge and I got up before dawn, drove two hours to Tomales Bay, Fished for crabs for five hours, drove home for two hours, then cooked our bounty of thirteen good sized dungees and a handful of red crabs.

We enjoyed the San Francisco Classic Crab Dinner: Fresh steamed dungeness crab, a loaf of San Francisco Sourdough french bread, washed down with a fine Sonoma County Blanc de Noir sparkling wine.

That's all I've got tonight...and Good Night!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Making A Liar Outta Me?

Did Mother Nature make a liar of me?

Well, Boreal did turn their fans and guns off for a while Saturday...and Friday I wrote: "Things are looking good going forward...the forecast says they could go full bore/nonstop until Monday afternoon!"

Well, Boreal graciously turned off their system for their guests today, but a mile south as the crow flies, Sugar Bowl's fans have been blowing around the clock for almost 48 hours...with no end in sight!

I just perused the Reno forecast and AFD. Aside from some more lollygagging by the incoming moisture associated with this cold front, the Big Picture hasn't changed. Snowmaking weather continues around the clock until Monday afternoon. Oh, and the precip amount turns out to be less than the models predicted...whatta surprise...yeah, right...La Niña...remember?

I thought so...