Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Welcome to Kansas

The weather has always nudged and poked and prodded me. So when I packed my stuff into a truck and drove 28 hours over 2 days to Salina, Kansas I was hoping for some big displays of thunder and lightning and rain. Instead I awoke to see the front about an hour north and I was heading south.

I stopped to gas up, collect my thoughts, and look up. Indeed my welcome into the Great Plains was some kind of gravity wave and/or bore. I joked with myself about it prior to leaving the hotel saying how funny it would be to see a wave or bore. And there they were.

below are the velocity images to prove what my awful cell phone pictures are trying to depict.

The shades of blue within the gold colors are the waves and there appear to be two specific areas. The gravity wave was behind the bores, of which there were two cloud lines. The two areas were spaced roughly ten minutes apart while I was driving 70 mph straight south. The leading edge of the bore was interesting because the roll cloud feature was elevated and their were diffuse cumulus clouds underneath it, almost water fall like.

The structures within the clouds were fishbone like, indicative of a spectrum of wave activity present on a scale of meters rather than kilometers.

the gravity wave was only recognizable since I had seen the IEMs web cam animation of a similar wave/bore here:

This wave has been written about recently in the AMS journals.

My wave appeared stagnant but then again I was not standing still taking 6 second images so I could animate them.

Times: 7:08, 7:22, 7:28

The first picture showed what appeared to be an arc shape with clouds in the ridge, while the middle shows the southern most portion of the bore front. The last pic is of the bore front looking east to see the fishbone structure and a bit of the cumulus that was vertically below the "smoother" wave clouds.

Without a doubt its nice to see the radar had something that resembled the bore I thought I was seeing.

UPDATE: I don't know why I didn't include a satellite image. Thanks Adam Clark for the suggestion:
This was the clearest image after sunrise showing the wave clouds over Kansas. The 1 minute ASOS data might be able to capture the pressure perturbations associated with these waves...more on that once the data for September are published.

Friday, September 17, 2010

My First Real Job

So, I have completed almost all the steps of claiming my first real job. The Post Doc position I am in was to expire in October, but an opportunity presented itself at The Storm Prediction Center and I took it. I have been preaching blog-style about FIT and this position fits me well.

It is one I can be excited about since it is all about utilizing models to help forecast severe storms, preparing model data sets via post-processing, and hopefully doing lots of research I have put off in order to learn regional climate research. I hope to be back doing actual modeling of supercells and MCSs.

The journey has been long and hard and I expect that will continue. I know the passion has already returned as I can feel the lift in my spirit. You can probably get a feeling for that spirit in this blog. I also felt that spirit when I volunteered at my daughters therapeutic horseback riding  twice in the last 8 weeks.  I was missing the service aspect of life and career.

As I learn more about my position and my role within SPC I will blog. Though I am unsure how much I will be able say since I probably need a disclaimer about not representing the government, NOAA, the NWS  or SPC.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Politically off topic post

Nate Silver's work over at 538 on the NY Times showed what candidates are talking about for the mid terms.

I was struck at the discrepancy on Education (72 vs 31 percent for Dem vs Rep), Environment (17 vs 7), and immigration (28 vs 59).

Clearly part of the difference is strategy. Some issues from some parties are the bread and butter of the base (Education), while others are current issues (immigration), and others only get attention in some cases (Environment).

What has been surprising on a purely political level is the size of government issue which the republicans have glommed onto (0 vs 28 percent). How can anyone justify lower government size in the face of exponentially increasing population? As a result of the increased population, we are exposed to increased geophysical risks which can amount to large financial disaster. We are also exposed to increased risk due to crumbling infrastructure (electricity grid, mass transit, etc.) This contrasts the fact that politicians are complaining about deficits and spending. Last time I checked even a small government can spend un-wisely.