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Davis Weather E-news
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April 2016
In This Issue:
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Anemometer WEATHER IN ACTION

Davis Weather Stations in the CosmoCaixa Science Museum of Barcelona



Our Spanish distributor, Darrera, is taking Davis weather technology to the people of Spain. First they hit the airwaves, showing off the Vantage Pro2 on the program El Escarabajo Verde on Spanish public TV.

Then they hit the CosmoCaixa Science Museum of Barcelona, one of the most important museums in the country on environment, nature and space, where they installed a new set of interactive weather experiments.

"The different experiments showcase in a fun and engaging way how wind, temperature, humidity, rain, and solar and UV radiation are measured," Darrera's Marc Arazo told us. "As you can see, they work thanks to Davis sensors."

"Each experiment is connected to an analog panel meter that reflects the changes as they occur, and is also accompanied by a touch screen monitor that shows real-time weather data from the Davis station located on the CosmoCaixa rooftop, as well as visual and textual explanations about each specific variable. All the weather data from the rooftop station is stored in a Weathercloud meteOS server, which features a stylish browser-based user interface."

"One important thing," he wrote of the sensor suite on the roof, "was to separate the rain gauge from the tower so rain would not be affected, while being able to install the anemometer at the top. The whole system is protected with our new stainless steel-copper lightning protection kit and a surge protector."

Here is a YouTube video of the rain collector's tipping bucket in action.

Gorgeous installation, Marc! Gracias por las fotos!

Amazing Tornado Footage Caught on Webcam



In October, a series of smallish tornados hit South Texas. That in itself is not the amazing part -- South Texas has seen more than a few tornados!

But what is amazing is that when it hit Mark Wick's property near Lyford, he had his weather webcam up and running, and a "fortunate" lightning strike hit just in time to illuminate the scene of his barn getting destroyed by the tornado. The NWS did a write up of the event and included a screenshot of Mark's weather page showing the huge spike in wind speed at 6 a.m. just before the station was violently relocated to a field 1/4 mile away. Mark's last recorded wind data of 86 mph (138 kph) gave the NWS what it needed to determine that it was, indeed, a tornado.

Mark has a Vantage Pro2 set up on this remote vacation home where his grandfather once farmed. The station, which survived Hurricane Dolly, lets Mark keep an eye on both inside and outside temperatures, as well as humidity, rainfall, and wind speed from his "usual home" in Newburyport, Massachusetts. (And yes, he has a Vantage Pro2 there too!)

We hate that Mark's property was damaged, but can't get enough of watching this clip with spooky lighting provided by Mother Nature herself!

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 1:


What Makes You a Weather Geek? We think the Weather Channel's new campaign to encourage all Weather Geeks to join their "weather lovin' community" is awesome. We particularly love this YouTube video of why Mike Betts is a Weather Geek.

Mike named his Vantage Vue "Albedo". He says Weather Geeks will know why. Do you?

(Click here for answers. )


Mobile Ag Weather Vehicle


You've seen storm chaser vehicles with weather stations mounted on them, but here's a weather truck of a type you may not have ever seen before! It belongs to WeatherAg, a non-profit operating in the heart of California's San Joaquin Valley. WeatherAg advises farms how best to use weather monitoring and soil analysis to increase their crop yields. They also provide a lot of free advice to the community on flood control, heat mitigation, and more.

We like the look of that truck, especially the part that is a Vantage Vue!

Vantage Pro2 Retires to the Nature Reserve

Tim Long, of Fareham, England helped an old friend move. He took down and cleaned his Vantage Pro2 so it could be relocated to the Monkton Nature Reserve observatory on the Isle of Thanet. His gift will allow the observatory staff to make decisions about whether it is safe to open the dome.

He told us that the "Davis weather station [is] stripped down and cleaned, ready for relocation to Monkton Nature Reserve official site. Apart from a bit of grime, this sensor suite has really stood up well to the elements for the last five years or so, I'm really impressed with the condition. It is completely solar powered and I've never needed to replace the backup battery. Nice work, Davis Instruments Weather.”

What a nice thing to do, Tim!

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 2:


The Monkton Nature Reserve is known for its beautiful chalk cliffs. Those cliffs were quarried to provide infill for Military Road in preparation for the Napoleonic War in 1799, and quarrying of chalk continued into the 20th century. What does the presence of chalk at the Monkton Nature Reserve indicate about its ancient past?

Extra Credit: The Monkton Nature Reserve has the UK's first artificial hibernaculum. What in the world is that?

(Click here for answers. )

AnemometerWEATHER 101

Northern Hemisphere Spring Has Sprung

Here in the Bay Area, we are celebrating a very green spring! We know, we know, the drought is not over. But we're on track for a nice rainy year in the record books and that alone has us doing the Springtime Happy Dance. We celebrated the vernal equinox by splashing in a few puddles and not watering the lawn.

When does spring actually start? For our purposes, we are going with March 20, the astronomical equinox. But that might not be the day you call the first day of spring if you are a meteorologist first and foremost. Meteorological seasons are marked by months, with the year being divided into four three-month seasons based (roughly) on average temperatures. They would say that March 1 is the first day of spring and May 31 the last.

In some places, the arrival of spring is based on current average daytime temperatures and in some places it's a set day (September 1, in Australia). Then there are cultural definitions. In China, spring begins when winter ends in February, with the equinox about halfway to summer. In Ireland, St. Brigid's Day on February 1 is the traditional first day of spring, and many people in the United States consider President's Day (the third Monday in February) the marker for the beginning of spring. In India, Hindu people think of Holi as the first day of spring. In Vietnam, it's Tet in late January or early February. Ecologists measure spring by biological indicators, such as when plants bloom, or bears wake up.

(And sometimes spring arrives in disguise. This year in Denver, it came as winter, complete with a huge snowstorm...)

In the Southern Hemisphere, autumn has arrived, and that must be a huge relief to the Australians who have endured a brutally fiery summer, and entered 2016 with raging fires in Victoria, South, and West Australia. Even as they enter autumn, Sydney is blanketed in smoke and ash from many wildfires threatening to merge. Recent bush fires in Tasmania are being called the worst crisis in decades for world heritage forests.

At least their spring and summer season is a little shorter than ours. We in the Northern Hemisphere get about a week more spring and summer than they do down there. This is because of that elliptical orbit. It takes the earth seven days longer to travel from March 20 to September 22 than it does from September 22 to March 20.

So whether you are watching the last of the sunlight fade in Antarctica, shivering in a huge spring blizzard in Denver, welcoming the cooler temperatures in Australia, or dancing in rain puddles in Hayward, we've flown by the equinox and spring has sprung/fall has fallen!

We know how much you love a quiz (you show off, you!), so here is your Mini Spring/Autumn Seasonal Quiz.

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 3:

  1. (Starting out easy) True or False: We have seasons because the earth circles the sun in an elliptical orbit so when it is closer to the sun, we have summer.
  2. If the Northern Hemisphere is tipped toward the sun in July, and at that time of year in the far north the sun is always up, why isn't it even warmer in the far northern latitudes?
  3. On March 20, the vernal equinox, was that day exactly 12 hours long?
  4. On the vernal equinox, what happy/sad event happens at the North and South Poles?
  5. Sunlight is most intense in the Northern Hemisphere three months after the vernal equinox, June 21. So why is it usually hotter in August than in late June?
  6. We know some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder in the wintertime. Do some people feel the effects of SAD when the summer heat rolls in?
  7. How much of a tilt is the axis of the earth on?
  8. Why do some people not like the name "vernal equinox?"
  9. True or False: It's easier to balance an egg on its end at the vernal equinox.
  10. Which one is NOT more common in the spring:
    A. MS relapses
    B. Allergies
    C. Honeybee swarms
    D. Spring tides
    E. In the US, weddings
    F. Tornadoes

(Click here for answers. )

>> Back to Menu

2015 Sets Lots of Climate Records. And Not in a Good Way.

Feeling overly cheerful? Need some depressing reading to stabilize your springtime joy? Try perusing the WorldMeteorological Organization's State of the Climate report. You'll see that 2015 was not only the hottest year on record so far "by a clear margin," taking us to approximately 1°C above the 1850-1900 average (half way to what most scientists working the field agree would take us to the point of dangerous, irreversible global warming with catastrophic effects). It also saw the biggest single-year leap in global carbon dioxide levels. The oceans got hotter, and we know this trapped heat will be released to the atmosphere and will speed the heating process up. Arctic sea ice saw a record low maximum and its forth lowest summer minimum. Worldwide climatic events in 2015 - from coral bleaching to floods, heat waves and wildfires - are summed up in nice visuals and detailed in the report. And none of it is happy news.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer has led to the discontinuation of halons and chlorofluorocarbons. So at least the hole in the ozone over Antarctica didn't any worse, right?

Wrong. According the WMO report: "These compounds will remain in the atmosphere for many decades because of their long lifetime. There is still more than enough chlorine and bromine in the atmosphere to cause the complete destruction of ozone at certain altitudes in Antarctica from August to December. As a result, the size of the ozone hole from one year to the next is mostly governed by meteorological conditions."

The meteorological conditions of 2015 kicked in toward starting that ozone depletion in mid-August -- with a vengeance.

"However, once ozone depletion started in mid-August, it proceeded rapidly. The area of the ozone hole reached its seasonal maximum of 28.2 million km² on 2 October, according to analysis by NASA. An analysis carried out at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) shows that the 2015 ozone hole area reached a maximum of 27.1 million km2 on 9 October. Thus the ozone hole was either the fourth- or fifth-largest on record after 2000, 2003 and 2006 in both analyses, as well as 1998 in the KNMI analysis. Data from NASA indicate that, for the 60 consecutive days in 2015 when the ozone hole was at its largest, the average area of the hole was 25.6 million km2. By that measure, the 2015 ozone hole was the largest on record. In the KNMI analysis, the equivalent area was 24.2 million km2. That makes the 2015 ozone hole the joint second largest, equal with 1998 and behind 2006."

Happy new year.

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 4:


Greenhouse gases reduce emitted radiation back to space. Why is this a problem?

Extra Credit: Agree or Disagree: There's not a thing you can do about climate change.


(Click here for answers. )

 

AnemometerTECH TIPS

Leticia Shows You Just How Easy the Vantage Vue Install Is

You know and we know that setting up the Vantage Vue is easy peasy. One of our Technical Support superstars, Leticia, has made it even easier by showing you how to do it in this video. You might think she's just making it look easy. But that's because it IS easy...

Time to Clean Your Weather Station

Russ Charter, of Sneeds Ferry, NC, noticed his humidity readings were a little wonky, so he thought maybe it was time for a cleaning. When he opened it up, this is what greeted him: a mud wasp convention.

"Tried cleaning it up," he wrote "but I was afraid of damaging the sensor, so I'll be shipping it to you folks to clean/repair."

Thanks a lot, Russ.

(Note to Repairs: Bee on the lookout for Russ Charter's station. It may be a little bit buzzy.)

>> Back to Menu

Anemometer I Spy a Davis Station

Spied Among a Herd of Deer on High Street

Darren Nixon caught a glimpse of this Vantage Vue in the market town of Stockton-on-Tees northeast England.


Spied at the Fair

Matt McGee, who sees Davis weather stations all over Texas, saw this one at the Texas State Fair. Matt has very good eyes. He even spied this one waaaay up on a crane.

Spied on the Town Hall

Darrera posted this image of a Vantage Pro2 up on top of this very cool town hall building in Selva, in Catalonia, Spain.

Spied at Sea Lion Cave

Albertans Doug Goyette and his wife were cruising the spectacular Pacific Coast Highway from Vancouver to Laguna Niguel,CA, when Doug spotted this Vantage Pro2 near the beautiful sculpture at Sea Lion Cave.

What a view! Oh, and the ocean is lovely too!

Spied In the Pyrenees

People driving in the beautiful Pyrenees mountains often stop their cars to take a photo of the stunning views. But Peter de Blécourt stopped his car to take a photo of this equally stunning view! Peter was in Spain at about 1200 meters when he confirmed that "you find a Davis weather station in unexpected places!"

Check out the view in the Google street view.



Spied on You Tube

We admit to thinking about wine every so often, even at work, but that's all Stan Boyd ever thinks about at work. Check out this video featuring Stan's vineyard and winery and his trusty Vantage Pro2 .


Spied at the Rocket City Weather Fest

Six members of the Huntsville, Alabama, NWS were standing tall at the University of Alabama's Rocket City Weather Fest in October. We particularly like the tall skinny one on the right.


AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 5:


Why is Huntsville called the Rocket City?

A. Because it is the home of Pappy's Rocket and Diesel, a huge fuel emporium and travel center.
B. Because the rocket was invented there.
C. Because it is an aerospace hub.
D. Because it is the home of the Huntsville Rockets, winners of the AHSAA High School Football championship for seven consecutive years.


Extra Credit: How is a rocket engine different from a jet engine?

(Click here for answers. )

>> Back to Menu

AnemometerMail Bag

Photos for You, Just Because They're Beautiful

Goodnight, Vantage Pro2, installed with your anemometer up above the rain collector! (Oh how we love to see that!) Thank you to John Velasco, whose Vantage Pro2 with 24-Hour Fan Aspirated Radiation Shield lives the good life in Glendale, California.




Goodbye winter, from a Vantage Vue who looked like this around Christmas, in Bellevue Nebraska. J.L "Stormy" Laurenti said he thought we'd all like to see "what a Davis Vantage Vue looks like pertnear all buried in 5” of snow!"

"The black wind arm is from my Digitar micro weather station (Model TWR-3) of the late 1980s/early 1990," Stormy wrote. "Remember that device?"

Of course we do, Stormy. Digitar is the esteemed and fondly remembered great-grandfather to Vantage Pro2. We were so pleased to see one still out there, enjoying the weather, we asked Stormy if it was still working.

"I still have the Digitar unit. . .but the potentiometer on the anemometer/vane unit doesn’t function very well anymore. So it’s on the pole merely to keep the Davis Vantage Vue company, displaying both 'Davis of the past' and 'Davis” of the present!'"

We love it! (And yes, oh Eagle-eyed One, there is third anemometer in that photo. We won't mention any names, but it is the one the Vantage Vue replaced, because, well, because the Vantage Vue is a DAVIS station!


Sigh. The Northern Lights! "See them!" is at the very top of our bucket list. David Grass, of Macoun, Saskatchewan, Canada took this gorgeous shot of his Vantage Pro2 dancing beneath the Northern Lights.




Cats Need to Know. Shiva and Cosma are big, fluffy weather buffs. They like to make sure the sun is shining before they waste any energy jumping off the desk and up on to the window sill. Klaus Adolphs, their pet human and weather station provider, took this photo in Germany and generously posted it on our Facebook page.




Hellooooooo up there, Anemometer! Joe Lehman got all artsy with his camera and his anemometer. The blue sky and fluffy white clouds of West Gate, Florida cooperated nicely.





Buffalo, rhymes with Lots-a-Snow. Trevor Brown Jr. took this gorgeous shot in snowy Buffalo, NY, with his little Vantage Vue, keeping track of the cold days. We love the icicles framing the shot, Trevor!

>> Back to Menu



 What do you think of the E-Newsletter? How can we improve? How do you use your Davis weather products? E-mail us at news@davisnet.com.

IconANSWERS TO QUIZ QUESTIONS

Question 1: Mike named his Vantage Vue "Albedo". He says Weather Geeks will know why. Do you?

Albedo refers to the reflectivity of the earth, or any object. We think Mike is paying homage to the beautiful white of his Vantage Vue, bouncing the sunlight back into space. We think maybe he also likes that name because he can call it "Al" for short.

>> Back to Menu

Question 2: What does the presence of chalk at the Monkton Nature Reserves indicate about its ancient past?

That it was once underwater. Chalk is a soft, sedimentary rock composed mostly of calcium carbonate which came from the calcite shells of single-celled, phytoplankton called coccolithophores.

Extra Credit: What in the world is a hibernaculum.?

An artificial bat cave! Not the Batcave where Batman lives. But the two do have one thing in common: no bats actually live in either one. Due to frequent winter flooding in the past few years, the Monkton Nature Reserve's brown long-eared bats all moved to drier quarters. And no bats live in Batman's Batcave either, because that place is just pretend. Sorry.

>> Back to Menu

Question 3:
1. True or False:
We have seasons because the earth circles the sun in an elliptical orbit so when it is closer to the sun, we have summer.

'Course not. Although it is true that the earth is closer to the sun during part of the year, here in the Northern Hemisphere we are closest in January. We have winter in January because the earth rotates on an axis that is tilted. In January, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the sun, which means our friends in Brazil are tipped toward the sun and are enjoying Caipirinhas on the beach. When we've spent another six months going over to the other side of the sun, Brazil is tilted away from the sun and we get summer while they shiver on Copacabana. Wait, the average temperature in July in Rio is like 75°F (25°C)...?

2. If the Northern Hemisphere is tipped toward the sun in July, and at that time of year in the far north the sun is always up, why isn't it even warmer in the far northern latitudes?

In the summer in the far north, the sun never gets very high above the horizon, so the sunlight that reaches the Arctic is coming in at an angle and has to travel through a thicker layer of the atmosphere which absorbs, scatters and reflects the sunlight. The light is then further bounced rather than absorbed by the ice and snow.

3. On March 20, the vernal equinox, was that day was exactly 12 hours long?

Yes, unless you define sunrise and sunset in the more humanly understandable way that newspapers usually do. If you define sunrise as when the sun's upper edge is just visible and sunset as when the upper edge disappears, the date on which night and day are the same length is skewed a few days earlier.

4. On the vernal equinox, what happy/sad event happens at the North and South Poles?

The sun skims above the horizon. It's for the first time in six months at the North Pole , the last time for six months at the South Pole .

5. Sunlight is most intense in the Northern Hemisphere three months after the vernal equinox, June 21. Why is it usually hotter in August than in late June?

It has a name: "lag in seasonal temperature." It happens because highest temperatures occur when the incoming energy from the sun is balanced to the outgoing energy. In June, the energy coming from the sun still exceeds the energy outgoing energy from the earth.

6. Do some people feel the effects of SAD when the summer heat rolls in?

Yes. An increase in temperature acts on summer SAD sufferers the way a decrease in sunlight does on winter SAD sufferers.

7. How much of a tilt is the axis of the earth on?

23.5°

8. Why do some people not like the name "vernal equinox?"

Because, since "vernal" means spring, it is biased toward the Northern Hemisphere. We know some people who actually live where that day signals the beginning of autumn...

9. It's easier to balance an egg on its end at the vernal equinox.

Pshaw. If you know how to surreptitiously put a few grains of salt on the egg, it's always rather easy!

10.Which one is NOT more common in the spring:

D. Spring tides (as in "spring forth") happen twice each lunar month all year long.

>> Back to Menu

Question 4: Greenhouse gases reduce emitted radiation back to space. Why is this a problem?

While the sun keeps showering us with heat, the earth, unable to emit it back out, stews in the heat, like a man in a locked sauna. This imbalance heats up the climate, and more importantly, the ocean. About 90% of the imbalance goes to heat up the ocean. Warm oceans expand, sea levels rise. Ice sheets melt.

Extra Credit: Agree or Disagree: There's not a thing you can do about it.

Disagree! It may not make much difference when one or two people make changes, but there are more than one or two of us! There are so many things we can do:
Reduce electricity use at home. Use CFL bulbs (right now, replace the five most use bulbs in your house. Go!), unplug electronics when not in use, buy energy efficient appliances. Reduce the need for heating and cooling sealing and insulating your home, using fans, adding a programmable thermostat, insulating water pipes,and using window coverings to control heat loss or gain through windows. Do what you can to reduce your car's contribution to the problem by buying a fuel efficient car, practicing fuel-efficient driving and limiting driving by walking, biking, carpooling or telecommuting. Paint your home for your climate -- light where it's hot and dark where it's cold. Get rid of your lawn, recycle and compost, eat local food, skip meat and dairy whenever possible, watch for clean energy certificates and "Energy Star," refuse over-packaging, and stay informed.

The best part is that all of these steps will not only help our environment, but they will also help our bottom line by saving us money.

>> Back to Menu

Question 5: Why is Huntsville called the Rocket City?

B. Anyone who loves aeronautics and dreams of being an astronaut knows that Huntsville is, truly Rocket City. Space Camp is there as is the Space and Rocket Center. And Huntsville is where you will find the Redstone Arsenal: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (which provided NASA with 32 Saturns, including six that landed astronauts on the moon) and the US Army Aviation and Missile Command. It all started in 1950, when Dr. Wernher von Braun, a leading authority in space science, moved his rocket building team from Fort Bills, Texas to Huntsville. Read all about it here.
(If you thought it might be B, talk to the Chinese, who were firing them off in the 1200s, long before Alabama was Alabama.)

Extra Credit: How is a rocket engine different from a jet engine?

Most importantly, a jet engine requires air. That would be not be good if you are heading to where there is no air there.

>> Back to Menu

AnemometerWHO YOU GONNA CALL?

Davis!
Each month after the E-News goes out, we receive messages back. Sometimes the messages are in response to a story we shared; other times they are a request for help of some kind. We read all the emails, answer those we can, and pass the rest on to the appropriate departments. If you're interested in the fastest possible reply, news@davisnet.com may not be the best place to send your message. Questions about how things work should be addressed to tech support directly at support@davisnet.com. For general information about the products, contact sales@davisnet.com. To request a catalog, see the links for catalog requests on our web site at www.davisnet.com/contact/catalog.asp.

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Well, that's it for this edition. You'll be hearing from us again next month!
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