1 Feb 2018

1st February 2018 A little bit of weather.

Thursday 1st February, 26F, 2C, windy and rather grey after quite a clear night with bright moonlight. Wintry showers and 30mph gusts promised in the forecast. As if on queue, February will mark a decided drop in temperature. With continuous sub-zero temperatures day and night all next week. Thankfully it seems more settled than of late.

 A 40 minute, brisk walk, down around the village church and back again . It makes a handy target when the distant forest does not beckon and the traffic is light. A keen wind again today, with very few birds about except for another large heron. Which went off to skulk in the threadbare marsh woods. Mostly dark and battered Alder in the wetter parts. With some sparse willows and birches further on in the drier, grassier parts. The trees become much denser further away from the village.

Gnarled old elders have found a home along the edges of the marsh. Where they collect bright green moss. The area is a refuge for many birds in warmer seasons. With few distractions apart from the huge tractors and machines working the enveloping fields at seemingly rare intervals. The most regular visitor is the chap in the 4WD who replenishes the pheasant feeders. Dark green, plastic barrels filled with grain. A conical spring on the bottom slowly doles out the contents on demand to pecking or gravity. Three timber legs are bolted to the barrel sides to support them off the ground.

I managed a short ride to the shops in the late afternoon in a strong crosswind. After being closely brushed by cars overtaking as the only oncoming car arrived, I put my flashing rear lights on for the journey home. This had a surprising effect with several cars hanging back to wait for a clear gap ahead. I gave each a wave of thanks as usual, as they passed at a safe distance. Only 7 miles.

Friday 2nd 36F, 2C, a heavy overcast and rather still. Wintry showers possible after a windy night with heavy rain. It rained steadily during my 40 minute walk. I had to take to the verges repeatedly. With each passing vehicle throwing up a vast cloud of spray. Of course there were occasional zombies. Who failed miserably to alter their course despite the lack of oncoming traffic. No doubt they were on their way to bully colleagues, customers and other subordinates to their exalted status. Ruling as demigods in their own fantasy worlds as if it were their right of birth. No ride today.

The new January temperature record of 12.9C at Sønderborg has not survived the DMI's critical tests. A reference thermometer read 0.3C lower. The site was also compared with nearby weather stations and found to be a bit of a local hotspot. That's the good thing about science. Fiction and reality are soon parted. The desire to set new records is safely tempered by sober analysis.

It always amuses me that people set up small weather stations and then proudly post their data 'live' online as if it had some scientific merit. Subsequent images show their anemometers are measuring the wind from under the eaves of a single story bungalow. Often behind a tall bush in a garden full of similar bushes. Which completely negates any useful readings should the wind ever manage to penetrate that far.

My own anemometer is some 20' of the ground on a mast out in the middle of the garden which is surrounded by tall trees. Even if I set the instrument on top of a regulation 30' mast it would still be badly affect by the surrounding 'shrubbery.'

The meteorological standards call for an open field, rural site. With the instrument placed at 10m or roughly 30' above clear ground. Ironically, my interest in weather and climate was triggered by the popular fiction of a new ice age several decades back in the last century. This was closely followed by a lifelong interest in alternative energy, insulation and improved glazing.

Both cycling and walking make one far more aware of the weather than driving commuters. Who often complain about a little ice on the windscreen a couple of times a year. What we consider extreme weather in Europe is soon trounced by another part of the world. Often quite literally doubling our record heatwave or frost temperatures, rain or snowfall with new records of their own. 


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