Choose a Project to View
Recent Field Dispatches
- An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
What was I saying yesterday about humbling? So after seeing the clouds yesterday, forecasts indicated they should be here today along the coast so we could go out to the coast and sample our first real clouds for this campaign…Guess what! No clouds…they are just out of reach of our flights…I’ve made a sequence of satellite image that perfectly depicts our crazy situation.
Do you see the trend? Let’s hope we beat the trend tomorrow and the rest of this week!! I’m off to boil chicken heads under the moon light and light 3 candles now…and no, I’m not superstitious…
Hard to believe that 11 days can pass with no clouds along the northern CA coast or even fog in the Central Valley. Through this experience, I am come to appreciate those who watch the weather–it is fascinating, albeit incredibly stressful. It is truly a humbling experience and a big lesson that one should not stress over something over which they have zero control. We tried rain dances, boiling chicken parts, everything, and simply nothing worked. The ridge is just weakening now. I awake every morning and the first thing I click (before email even) is Patrick Minnis’s web site for CalWater with satellite data showing our region of interest….Every time I look, the clouds are just out of reach of our flight plans. This morning I became so excited when I saw clouds actually touching the CA coast in the north within our reach!! The only problem is we scheduled a down day today (no flights) because forecasts said they wouldn’t be here yet. There’s always tomorrow…
Today is our first hard down day for the aircraft. This means no flights and no power to the aircraft so no one is allowed to work. It is a much needed break for the scientists who have been working so hard to prepare and start Calwater. It was a good day to use for a down day as we sit and wait for the clouds to come to us…the weather is almost unbelievable. Even the marine stratocumulus clouds remain in a stand-off with the coast. One can see this, as well as the CalWater study area highlighted in yellow in this cloud image. Just heard in our NOAA weather webcast this morning that the storm we were hoping for over this coming weekend just died out over the Pacific. We’re back to hoping for a Valentine’s Day storm. Honestly, I never thought I would be wishing so hard to see even a single cloud in the sky. I watch the NASA Satellite images almost every waking hour. I didn’t think it was physically possible to not have a single (non-cirrus) cloud over the entire Northern CA region during February, a month that historically has large amounts of precipitation. So, now I am learning how to run and interpret models that will be used to predict when the clouds will arrive in California–in particular, we are interested in the formation of orographic wave clouds over the Sierras. We need every possible tool so we can take advantage of flights over the next few weeks of the study….
OK, since we can’t talk about clouds, let’s talk about my second favorite subject…FOOD. We had our best “dining experience” yesterday in Sacramento. Prof. Daniel Rosenfeld, aka “Cloud God”, my friend and colleague who is here from Israel working on the study with us, was becoming skeptical that there is no such thing as a “good burger”. So, after doing some research, I found a place to take him for lunch. I told Danny, “If you don’t like this burger, then you can deem all burgers as bad, but let’s try one more time.”. So we went off to The Squeeze Inn in Roseville which is very near Sacramento. This place was highlighted by Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and I trust Guy’s judgement since he comes from my home town, Santa Rosa. We went in to a very busy restaurant and had to wait in line for about 15 minutes to place our order and another 20 minutes to get our food…so the anticipation and hunger were building. We sat at the bar to get a taste of the full ambiance–you can watch the owners cook the burgers….It became clear that you MUST get a cheeseburger or you’re missing a key part of the experience. They put down the burgers in a row and then place grilled onions or whatever toppings you order on them and then they put mounds of shredded sharp cheese that spills across the entire grill and melts all down and around the burgers. The cheese browns and bubbles while they cover the burgers and cook them. They then put the burgers and cooked crunchy cheese (on the edges) on a bun with fresh pickles, etc. and serve it up. It was so beautiful I had to take a picture.
Isn’t the burger a beauty–and yes, it tastes as good as it looks. Well, this is the first time I have written a blog about food. I’ve often dreamed of becoming a restaurant critic, so feedback is welcome as I work my way towards my next calling…
I’m working remotely today at my mom’s house about 2 hours from our study. I was trying to explain to her how I could tell where the plane was flying today by using GoogleEarth…she looked at me patiently while I explained in detail and showed her my computer screen and then politely said “Now, that just sounds like a bunch of hogwash to me”….To her, seeing a plane flying across the sky in GoggleEarth is as “impossible” as the things we used to watch on the Jetson’s…
Shirley got data in the flight today–not a whole lot as the air was super clean and we were flying very high. As you go up, the amount of pollution becomes less and less. Air pollution is often held down close to the earth by the “boundary layer”. We are still waiting for a key piece of equipment to start working on the aircraft–it is a newly developed sampling inlet which allows us to sample cloud particles directly into our instrument as well as the instrument Dr. Paul DeMott is running which probes ice nuclei. Several folks are working into the night tonight to try and get it ready for another test flight tomorrow. The hope is we will have all instruments working well so when the clouds and bad weather finally arrive this next week (we hope!), we will be ready for our first full research flight. Everyone is working very hard to be ready. It is an intense amount of effort working in the field with constant time pressures, but very fun. Seeing the G1 come and go still gives me goosebumps-she is a very pretty plane. I will post some pictures and videos very soon…it is late now, so I will sign off now.