Dr Thunder Wonders

On the adventures (or non-adventures) of an weather guy

Friday, October 27, 2006

Happy Nevada Day

Nevada Day?

Yes, this is an actual observed holiday in the state of Nevada to celebrate Nevada's entrance into the Union. In appropriate Nevadaish fashion, Nevada day falls on October 31!!! As if the people needed more reasons to booze it up and gamble their dollars away. I shouldn't be complaining about a holiday...but Nevada day, pretty self-righteous if you ask me!

I have no clue what is going on with the politics here in Nevada, but a few notes of interest. A bunch of sons of former famous people are running for office (Jimmy Carter's son, and the old b-ball coach of the Running Rebels, Tarkanian's son is running). Secondly, they refer to what California's call "propositions" as "questions" here. I guess this seems odd to me, but then again a "proposition" may sound odd to those out of California.

I went to a meeting in Sacramento this week to spread the word on this climate index that I am creating. It should be operational January 2007. Not to keep you waiting, the preliminary results show that the state has warmed about 1.5F over the last 50yr, with the nighttime lows increasing 2.2F/50 and the highs only 0.8F/50yr. Obviously a lot more info is in the works, so I will keep you updated.

Finally, I had a chance to see a couple pretty good indie films lately. Akeelah and the Bee, Starbucks first film - a good story about an intercity girl striving to be a wordsmith... and The Worlds Fastest Indian, a true story about a crazy old New Zealand dude who is devoted to making his motorcycle the fastest in the world. The later was especially good, as it was almost a travelogue of his adventures enroute to the Bonneville Flats from the opposite side of the world.

For this reason, the week of the link is Netflix. Disclaimer: I am not payed by Netflix, however, if they come across this blog and decide they enjoy the advertising...well you know the address to send the check to.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The pros and cons of living in the driest, biggest little city in the World

This post is devoted to a few things I have learned so far about coping with the very dry atmosphere in Reno. I believe that Nevada is the driest state in the Nation, and that Reno is the driest city (above 100k) in the US. Driest, in this case refers to the humidity content of the air, not necessarily the amount of precipitation that falls each year.

Here's the beginning of my list of the pro's and con's of living in a parched city, feel free to suggest any additions

1. Drying machine is absolete. In addition, bath towels dry is approximately 213 minutes.
2. No bugs. Guess even they can't find a source of H2O.
3. Bread never goes moldy, rooms never go musty
4. No need to worry about chips going stale. In fact, opening a bag of chips in the Reno air will actually crispen them right up!

1. I go through as many pairs of lips each week as I do underwear. Now you could take that the wrong way, but let's just say that the chapstick buisness is booming here.
2. Dehydration. When I was first getting acclimated, I'm pretty sure I pissed out something resembling Sunny D.
3. Bread goes stale. However, as a pro, no toaster is needed.
4. Dryness coupled with too much time spent staring at computer screens...and my eyes are already dressed up for Halloween.
4. Need to drink, a lot. Fortunatley, people who drink alcohol here say the stuff is real cheap - wonder if the casino people are in cahoots with the alcohol people...

BTW, this week's link o'week is a bit ironic...do a search for Reno on this page and you will find out http://web2.airmail.net/danb1/usrecords.htm

Needless to say, the webmaster didn't do a great job fact checking.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The onset of Fall

Fall is the best time of year...just when you are getting tired of the summer - the dog days of summer - the suns angle declines on the horizon enough to allow the air a chance to breathe and provide enough of a chill to make things comfortable once again. I think people would really treasure the season if fall didn't lead into winter. In other words, if there was some sort of rheostat on the fall season.

The weather has begun to change from 95 degrees everyday here in Reno. Believe me, it is a welcome change as I was hoping to get a little more variety in the weather department that 72F and sunny southern california. Reno has quite a nice skyline surrounded by mountains, and since you can quickly be up above the city (as in my office) you can get a great perspective on the forecoming weather. Henceforth, the link of the week is the webcam that sits about 20 feet from my desk. I do not have such a view as I am barricaded in my cubicles...but perhaps that allows me to focus better??
I have been developing a method to remove inhomogenities in climate records for the state of California. As an example if you look at the temperature record (max temp) for Yosemite valley there is a dramatic drop in temperatures in the 1960's and 1970's that is not seen by any nearby station. This kind of error in the dataset can lead to a whole mess of bad results.

Since I am held captive all week long, I am trying to get out and explore every weekend. This past weekend I had a chance to go hiking with a couple people from work. We headed out to Thomas/White Creeks on the east side of Mt Rose Wilderness. Our goals was to check out the Aspens that turn golden this time of the year. In the pictures to the left you see the forest, and if you look closely a patch of yellow. I figured these were trees that the bears use an outhouse, but actually they are groves of Aspen.

We had a nice hike along the creek, where the dogs outnumbered people. This was primarily due to the fact that a doggy day care lady had brought like 12 dogs with her on a romp through the woods. It was pretty funny as each dog (think student, for the teachers in the reading audience) was dressed in a uniform (Caltrans orange vest) and had its own name tag on it. The name tag part really through me...what like if these dogs get called Spot rather than Rusty will they complain and not want to go back to this Day Care center. Me thinks not.