Sunday, November 29, 2015

Earth from Space - Dramatic Pictures of our Planet

Incredible photos from the International Space Station

Hurricane Danny. Keeping an eye on you from the International Space Station. Looks like you're 1st in the Atlantic this year. Stay safe below! (Photo courtesy Scott Kelly / NASA)

Been hanging out with the Bahamas again, it never gets old. (Photo courtesy Scott Kelly / NASA)

#GoodMorning to those in the western #USA. Looks like there's a lot going on down there. #YearInSpace (Photo courtesy Scott Kelly / NASA)Kelly / NASA)

#Aurora and all that jazz over #Chicago city lights. #YearInSpace (Photo courtesy Scott Kelly / NASA)
Day 195. Day went by like a flash of #lightning. Good night from @space_station! #YearInSpace (Photo courtesy Scott Kelly / NASA) 

#MiddleEast. So much history, so much tragedy. #YearInSpace. (Photo courtesy Scott Kelly / NASA)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

13 FEET of snow, 65 mph winds Mt. Rainier

 Just another day atop Mt. Rainier

13 FEET of snow, 65 mph winds -- just another day atop Mt. Rainier
You think it's been a little stormy around Seattle this weekend? Child's play to the Mt. Rainier summit.

How's this for a weekend forecast: Between 122 and 162 inches of snow (10-13 FEET!), 65 mph winds, and temperatures in the 20-30 degree range, making wind chills near zero.
At least, that's what the automated forecasts have from the National Weather Service. Check it out:

Now, crazy extreme weather is nothing new for the summit -- you're half way to general flight paths and, of course, there's no other topography around to stand in the way of a raging atmosphere.

But still, even by summit standards, that has to be pretty intense. I'd hope any climbers wouldn't be daring enough to think this is the right time to attempt a climb.

I have to give a shout out to this this ski site that was first to notice the forecast. For skiers, we of course aren't looking at 13 feet of snow anywhere where there are chair lifts, but Mt. Baker and Stevens Pass should get their first decent coating of the season.

Apple Cup 2015 Kicks Off time set

Cougs, Huskies will tee it up early on Black Friday
It's an early one, and the stakes are high as the Washington
State Cougars face the Washington Huskies in the Apple Cup 
on Black Friday.
    (1200)WWWllllllnnWWWWelcome back to a Black Friday Apple Cup once again. The Washington State 
Cougars and Washington Huskies will face off in Seattle in the final regular season
 game of the season on the day after Thanksgiving, and it's going to be a (relatively) 
early one. On Monday, the Pac-12 announced that the Cougs and Huskies will kick
 the Apple Cup off at 12:30 pm PT on Nov. 27th, live on FOX.
We know what's at stake here. The Huskies, with four wins on the year, need to beat
 Oregon State this weekend to even have a shot at going into the last week with bowl
 eligibility on the line. This means, in all likelihood, that the already bowl eligible,
and red hot, Cougs have a chance to improve their own bowl positioning while
 keeping their hated rival out of the postseason.
In a bit of a weird twist for a conference that probably wants to show off its marquee
 rivalry games, as well, Oregon and Oregon State will kick the Civil War off at 1 p.m.
PT, right on the heels of the Apple Cup beginning.
We'll be back with plenty of Apple Cup coverage next week. Until then, plan your
days and shopping accordingly. The Cougs have a chance to finish strong, and the 
Apple Cup may just present a very sweet opportunity to play the role of spoiler
 despite being favorite.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Washington is in a drought - According to the Feds

Cliff  Mass Weather Blog

November 19, 2015

How can we be in a drought if there is flooding?

 According to our government, the entire state is in at least moderate drought, with NW Washington and eastern Washington being in severe or extreme drought.

The Drought-affected Snoqualmie Valley

THIS IS RIDICULOUS!  There is absolutely no objective measure showing that western Washington is abnormally dry.  And their changes do not recognize the HUGE amount of moisture that has fallen on the Cascades--on both sides.  I found it hard to understand how NOAA (the National Weather Service) and other groups can allow such a subjective and obviously wrong measure to become the NATION'S MAIN DROUGHT INDEX.   And let me assure you, I can point out equally problematic drought appraisals in other parts of the country.

The current official US Government Drought Monitor graphic for Washington State is shown below. 

Our society needs to plan and make adaptations for upcoming climate change.   Products like the Drought Monitor will hinder efforts to do so in a rational, robust fashion. 
If it is evident that there is no drought, why is the Drought Monitor saying we are NOW in a serious drought?  Read on..

Many STATE AND LOCAL ENTITIES USE THE US DROUGHT MONITOR, such as Washington State and the Dept of Ecology Drought Page, which features the Drought Monitor information at the top of their webpage! (see below)

As I will demonstrate, the NOAA Drought Monitor information is unscientific and subjective.  More of a political and motivational tool than reliable guidance to make key decisions.

First, it is ridiculous to claim that our entire state is in moderate or more severe drought.  There are stronger words I could have used, but this is is a family friendly blog.

Many of our local RIVER ARE FLOODING with nearly all Washington rivers running above normal. For example, here is the latest USGS streamflow map.  Nearly the entire state has streamflows that are well above normal (green, blue, and black), with some of the largest flows over the eastern slopes of the Cascades.
 The latest NW River Forecast Center summaries show many rivers in serious flood stage over our state from the Yakima River in eastern Washington, to the Snoqualmie, to the Chehalis, and more.   Doesn't look like drought there.

Well, what about PRECIPITATION?  Most of the state is above normal (greens and blues), including all of western Washington, the Cascades, including the eastern slopes, and most of far eastern Washington.  And where it is low (Columbia Basin), it is only a bit below normal.  And those folks generally get their water from the Columbia River, which is at normal levels.

How about the official CROP MOISTURE index?  Way above normal in western WA and normal in the east.
I know what you are thinking, what about SNOWPACK? The U.S. Government SNOTEL sites range from 42 to 205% of normal.   And many of our ski areas will be opening early for Thanksgiving (e.g., Baker, Whistler).

Many of our RESERVOIRS ARE WELL ABOVE NORMAL from recent rains.  Take Seattle.  Here is the total storage of the Tolt and Chester Morse reservoirs.  Levels have jumped to WAY ABOVE normal and are about 80% full.  No problems with having enough water for next summer at this rate.
Even reservoirs on the eastern slopes that feed the critical Yakima River are well above normal - and rising! (red asterisks).   We are on track to completely fill the Yakima reservoirs earlier than normal.

 It is silly to suggest that we are in a drought.  We are not.   And typical precipitation during even strong El Nino years is generally at or slightly below normal, so there is no reason to expect a drought ahead.

Now, I know what you are wondering.  If it is evident that there is no drought, why is the Drought Monitor saying we are NOW in a serious drought?

Now we get to the embarrassing part of the blog.   The Drought Monitor  is produced through a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

And now the key point:  it is a SUBJECTIVE, QUALITATIVE BLEND of  all kinds of information, including subjective appraisals of impacts.  It is not a strictly objective index based on precipitation, soil moisture, and the like.  And the folks that make this index tend to seriously exaggerate drought, as should be obvious to anyone who read the early part of my blog.  I will let you speculate why they are producing an unreliable product.

The Drought Monitor is unscientific, subjective and is doing the nation and our region a disservice by providing unreliable information that will lead authorities and governments to make the wrong decisions.   It is also being used by some to hype the current impacts of climate change produced by anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

Our society needs to plan and make adaptations for upcoming climate change.   Products like the Drought Monitor will hinder efforts to do so in a rational, robust fashion.  It should be ended and replaced by a rational, completely objective product.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

WSU Football Facts


The Washington State Cougars football family is one of the most passionate in the country.

Playing in the PAC-12 Conference, the Cougars play the best competition on the West Coast.
Wazzu has played over 1,000 football games since they first fielded a team in 1893 and are one of the oldest programs in the westewestern United States.
1900 WSU Football Team.  At that time it was known as Washington Agricultural College
 The Cougars have won 4 conference championships and played in over 10 bowl games, including 4 Rose Bowl appearances.
Wazzu fans spread the entire country, and Pullman is a tough place to play if you are not wearing the Cougars Crimson and Grey.
 The Cougars run onto the field through a cloud of smoke, and chants of “Wazzu” that are deafening. Gamedays in Pullman are as high energy as anywhere in the PAC-12 North, and

keep your eye out for the Washington State flag that has flown on every college game day set since 2003

Getting Ready for Apple Cup 2015

November 25, 2014 at 5:26 PM

Apple Cup flashback: When Bob Gregory was a ‘glaring weak spot’ on the Washington State defense

Going through The Seattle Times archives today, I found this gem from the great Craig Smith in a story printed on Nov. 19, 1986, three days before legendary WSU coach Jim Walden would coach the Cougars for the final time. The 12th-ranked Huskies beat the Cougars, 44-23, in Pullman.
“I don’t lie to my players,” Walden said after the game. “I told them Washington was bigger, stronger, deeper. I wasn’t going to tell them the Huskies were slow and couldn’t move. They would have gotten their brains knocked out. I told them that if the Huskies didn’t give us anything, we would get stoned.”
You’ll notice a cameo in this Smith preview story by UW’s current linebackers coach Bob Gregory, then Washington State’s starting outside linebacker.
Headline: Hate the Huskies? ‘It’s easy.’ Says Walden
Bob Gregory, a Washington State graduate, is in his first season as UW's assistant head coach and linebackers coach. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)
Bob Gregory, a Washington State graduate, is in his first season as UW’s assistant head coach and linebackers coach. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)
PULLMAN — It’s a faded clipping, but it remains Exhibit A in Jim Walden‘s mental museum of Husky arrogance.
In 1982, when the Washington State Cougars upset the Washington Huskies 24-20, UW lineman Don Dow said in a post-game interview, “I never thought I’d see this in my lifetime.”
Speaking before a weekly gathering of Cougar fans on campus yesterday, Walden fumed, “Can you imagine that! . . . This guy is 22 years old . . . He has been told you will always be superior, that this will never happen. Can you imagine a 22-year-old in anything saying, ‘I never thought I’d see this in my lifetime.’
Walden added with a smile: “At least he got to see it.”
Walden continued: “Husky people believe they are the best, believe they are the smartest, believe they are the richest and believe they are everything. And they train their people to think that way. It hasn’t changed. I don’t have anything against that. But I don’t have to accept it. You aren’t smarter or meaner or anything by association.”
Walden told the fans, “Everybody needs something to hate, and the Huskies make it nice. They are easy. I like Don James. I just hate their system. I admire them, I respect them, but I hate them.”
The Cougars will try to make it four victories in five years over the Huskies here Saturday. Walden said, “In my heart, I’d be lying to you if I thought we had much of a chance.”
Walden cited two reasons for pessimism: (1) WSU quarterback Ed Blount has been slowed by an injured ankle since the first quarter of the UCLA game Oct. 25, and (2) the Cougar defense has a glaring weak spot in 175-pound outside linebacker Bob Gregory, a converted defensive back.
Walden said Blount has been unable to stretch a defense by running wide option and keeper plays with the same speed he exhibited before he was injured.
“He can’t admit it to himself, but what he was doing for five weeks, he just can’t do any longer,” Walden said.
Of Gregory, Walden said: “I feel sorry for him. I’m not mad at him. He’s thrown his body at more fullbacks than I’ve seen in my life.”
Walden said trying other players at the position and switching to other defensive formations just hasn’t worked.
“What it boils down to is we have no linebackers,” Walden said.
Despite the problems, Walden said, “Getting ready for the Apple Cup is the most exciting thing I get to do. It’s next to waiting for one of your kids to be born.”

The 108th Apple Cup will be played in Seattle on 'black Friday', November 27, 2015.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Ty is 6 Months Old!!

Tyberius Clyde

Ty (Pooper) is 6 months today! (left) with what's left of the duck that was bigger than him the day we brought him home (below) at 7 weeks.

Such a happy, good natured pup. Just a ball of energy. Working to get him socialized with other dogs so he's not so bonkers on the leash!

Up Close with Venus

Early Saturday morning Crescent Moon and Venus rising in the eastern sky. 11/7/2015

Picture Courtesy Jan Null, San Francisco Bay Area, CA

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