Friday, June 24, 2022

The Pacific Ocean and the Weather Along the U.S. West Coast - A WxTalk Recap

The May WxTalk Webinar featured Eric Skyllingstad with Oregon State University Corvallis, OR describing the variety of weather along the west coast caused by the proximity to the Pacific Ocean. In the winter, large storms are fed energy by the evaporation of water and can generate intense rainfall and hurricane-force winds when they collide with the coastal terrain.  Summer days often end with a simple wind shift that brings cool ocean air inland.  An important part of these weather events is the exchange of energy, water, and momentum between the ocean and atmosphere over the coastal region. This interaction is what makes the coastal climate much different from most of the interior U.S.

You can view the webinar on YouTube at this link.


Past webinars can be viewed in the WxTalk Webinar Series archive which includes descriptions and links to all of the webinars presented since 2011.

 WX is a common abbreviation for "weather". It originated as the Morse code shorthand for the word "weather".


Monday, June 6, 2022

Revisiting Bird Deterrents, and Clean Rain Gauges

After my blog post on April 5 about keeping birds from using your gauge as a porta-potty a number of observers posted ideas on our Facebook group about their solutions.There is no lack of creativity out there. The most important thing to remember about any solution you come up with is that it does not direct any additional water into the gauge, i.e. nothing can drip or run into the funnel from wires, toothpicks, or whatever.

Dave, our CoCoRaHS observer at PA-BK-48 in Newtown, PA found a commercial solution. Ambient, a company electronic rain gauges and weather stations has a bird deterrent for one of their gauges that will work with the 4-inch CoCoRaHS gauge. 


Ambient bird spikes on 4-inch gauge funnel

The model number for this is WS-2902-BIRDSPIKE and it retails for $15.99. Dave indicated that "ll that was required was for me to trim a few of the black rubber spike holders so it would fit. Scissors worked nicely. All told it was up in 10 minutes from box opening to 'in the field.' It is held with a stainless steel zip-tie like device that can be tightened more later if it loosens over time." Thanks to Dave for letting us know about this solution.

While we are on the subject of birds and the mess they can make in your rain gauge let's talk a little rain gauge maintenance. During the warm season a lot of gunk (algae, dust, etc.) can accumulate in the gauge. There are numerous ways to clean the inner measuring tube. Rolled up newspaper works, as do standard bottle brushes along with a few drops of detergent or bleach. I found a brush that is perfect for he inner measuring tube - sort of like carpet on a stick. It's soft and won't scratch, maintains contact with the entire surface of the tube, and is long enough to reach and clean the bottom of the tube. The brush is 16 inches long and one inch in diameter - perfect for the inner measuring tube. I found mine on Amazon, but a recent check shows it is currently unavailable. It retails under $7 on Amazon. You may be able to find it elsewhere.



Thanks to all those on the Facebook group with ideas and suggestions.