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Author Topic: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California  (Read 50407 times)

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #450 on: December 18, 2018, 05:18:50 AM »


I was back up on Peavine Ridge again today. There was 8 cm of new snow on the ground. This was a very pleasant surprise. I was expecting the snow level to be about 500 feet (152 meters) higher. Currently there is 20 cm of snow on the ground with a liquid equivalent of 1.92 inches of precipitation. I would be encouraged by the lingering snow, however my last analysis for the next 7 days indicates there could be much above average temperatures during the Wednesday – Thursday time frame (I have not updated this yet today, as of this writing – things can change quickly this time of year). If this does indeed occur, most of the snow will most likely be gone by Friday. This is sounding too much like a repeat of last year when there was not much snow until March.

Lately, I have been working on creating my own proxy skew-t charts for the area, based partly on the Sacramento GEOS Soundings. This is nothing new or novel. Meteorologists can do such things when there is a blackout of the soundings within the region of their concern. An air parcel in the Sacramento region generally has enough similarities to this part of the Sierra Nevada (especially above 850 mb), that with some adjustments I can come up with something that will work good enough for me. There are also other GEOS soundings locations that I can use under other circumstances.



This was a good day to use the base of the cloud deck to work out the ML-LCL (Mean Layer Lifting Condensation Level). Clearly, the LCL on Peavine Ridge was well above the Sacramento GEOS reading of 954 mb. There was also an upper level cloud deck moving in to the area that could have been near the 500 mb level as indicated on the Sacramento 2200 UTC GEOS sounding. I will be able to confirm and double check this using an archived  SPC Mesoscale Analysis.



With some orographic lift and a tiny-tiny amount of instability (CAPE 101 J/kg), the clouds began to build to the southwest. This dissipated about as quickly as it started as the upper cloud deck moved in and shut down the solar heating. Yea, I worked out a hodograph of wind shear and vectors on this one (both from my observations and SPC archived data). This is about as nerdy as one can get.  ;D

Yes, Yes, I will get back to the plants as soon as I can, however this is what I have enjoyed doing since I was 11-years old. I guess there are other reasons for all my record keeping. I am using all of this information to better understand how changing climatic conditions are influencing the ecosystems in this region and the plants that live in them. This too is nothing new or novel and has most likely already been done, but then I like doing this for my own pleasure. If something comes out of this to help folks create and grow a more enjoyable garden, so-much-the-better.

Here is another fun thing to check out. Find a global time-lapse animation of the OLR (Outgoing Longwave Radiation – IR) on the Internet (you might have to view the right archived material as conditions change constantly – no surprises here!). It is fascinating to see how convective cloudiness (moisture) in the equatorial central Pacific Ocean can work its way northeastward and eventually ends up in Scotland. And no, I am not planning a vacation to Scotland packed with a bathing suit, sunglasses and sunscreen.  ;D

« Last Edit: December 18, 2018, 12:03:07 PM by Robert »
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #451 on: December 19, 2018, 10:39:38 PM »
There may be some interesting weather shaping up for us here in Northern California.

This morning there was low overcast and fog at our Sacramento home. Currently, the low overcast has burned off with high cloudiness above. The 20 UTC Sacramento GEOS sounding indicated 850 mb temperatures running 10 C (50 F). This is right on track for today. Surface winds are light at the 5,000-foot level, so surface temperatures are certainly 5 F or more above the 10 C mark at this time (above average).

I arrived home late last night, and only updated my 7-day weather analysis an hour or so ago. Hum.  :-\   The latest GFS projections revealed some interesting changes out around day 7. If the forecast holds (forecast 7-days out can change dramatically in 12 to 24 hours) we could get some of the coldest weather of the season, to date. What is interesting about the projections is that some moisture may get drawn in with the cold air advection. IF the forecast holds, AND / IF (lots of ifs), depending on where the moisture is located we could get very low snow levels. It also could be clear, cold and dry if the moisture is off the California coast, is too far east of our area, or never arrives.

Other developments that I will be watching:

The MJO has slowed it eastward progression. As it moves eastward from the eastern Indian Ocean (current location) into the Maritime Continent and further eastward, the consensus was (it may have changed) that this would prompt an atmospheric response toward the anticipated El Niño.

In addition, when I have time I plan on spending some time examining the Channel 3 IR satellite images. There has been a tremendous amount of wildfire damage in California over the past few years. This and the salvage timber operations that follow leave the terrain barren. This will show up on the satellite images, as well as the contrasting landscape where the burned timber has been left standing. Follow up outings to confirm the satellite information and to access the differences will be necessary. I am particularly interested in the King Fire (local) and the Mendocino Complex Fire burn areas (Snow Mountain). The fire damage has been so extensive in these areas there will certainly be meso-alpha scale meteorological changes. How this and other variables will impact these sites could be quite interesting.

There will be plenty to keep me busy this coming season.

Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #452 on: December 21, 2018, 06:33:17 PM »
Sacramento
21 December 2018
1800 UTC

A weak storm system passed through our area last night. Rainfall amounts were light. Our Sacramento gauge measured 0.05 inches, and our Placerville gauge measured a similar amount.

During the Monday into Tuesday time frame a storm with a bit more vigor and cold air advection will pass through our area. I checked the GFS RAP 500 mb / Absolute Vorticity (shear, curvature, and coriolis) prog. which is very reliable in this time frame.

In addition, I also checked the GFS 250 mb prog in relationship to the IR OLR over the equatorial central Pacific. The forecast is that the moist advection from this region will be cut-off. The MJO is active and has presumed its eastward movement. It will be interesting to see how this all pans out over the next 4 to 14 days.

As for the 7 day GFS forecast, well… It has changed. This is a very common occurrence this time of year (see previous posting). Meteorological science has made huge leaps of progress, however forecasts in the 6 to 8 day range can still be very difficult, especially during the winter. When I go on outings in the Sierra Nevada and elsewhere, I have my iPad browser programed to access high-resolution satellite images, radar, High Resolution Rapid Refresh, etc. Even with all this information at my finger tip (providing I am in internet range) the region has its own unique weather patterns and is still very poorly covered with important incoming data. For me this is FUN – as I enjoy the challenge and am still an advocate of the value of manual observations. I guess that I am old-fashion.

Now to go out and do more garden clean-up.  :)

Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #453 on: December 28, 2018, 09:11:58 PM »
Sacramento
28 December 2018
2000 UTC



Tomorrow I will be making my last trip to Peavine Ridge for the 2018 season. Last Sunday, 23 December, I arrived at Peavine Ridge very early in the morning while it was still dark. It was a nice time to arrive as the Great Horned Owls, Bubo virginianus, where calling.

The snow pack on the ridge was dwindling quickly, 6 cm on the ground with a liquid equivalent of 0.61 inches. We are quickly falling well below average in our precipitation to date, 6.83 inches at the farm, 58% average to date. In addition, the symptoms of climatic change are apparent in the data. Although the temperatures at the farm will only be slighting above the 30-year mean, the lack of cold weather is very apparent. As an example, there have only been 8 nights with low temperatures 32 F (0 C) or less, to date. This is well below the 30-year average to date. Another example is the low temperature extremes. To date, the lowest low temperature recorded at the farm has been 28 F (-2.2 C). The 30-year mean is 22.5 F (-5.3 C), with a stand deviation of 4.09 F (2.27 C). 28 F is clearly an anomalously high figure.



As the time arrived to depart for Sacramento the sky began to lighten despite the overcast. As of today, it would be nice to have consistently cooler temperatures (it is very cool as of this writing), much more precipitation and snow cover. Over the last week or so the numerical forecast models have been a bit inconsistent. As of today, the GFS and NAM are at least in agreement for dry weather for the next 6 days of so. I would like to see better run-to-run consistency, however this can be difficult to achieve this time of year. In my situation, I can use my personal subjective analysis, to blend with the numerical models in my decision tree. Even with this methodology I do not see much prospect of precipitation over the next 6 days. It appears that the current regime of below average temperatures and strong dry northerly winds will persist for a few more days before temperature start to rise and the winds lighten.

I’ll save more discussion on these topics until the 2019 season starts. I hope to eventually tie this all together into something relevant to gardeners anywhere on the globe.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Maggi Young

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #454 on: December 29, 2018, 12:34:43 PM »
Thank you, Robert, for a terrific year of  posts, helping us to better understand  the topography, flora and climate  of   Northern California.  A huge amount of work for you, on our behalf, for which we are grateful. It's another great resource on this website.
 M
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Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #455 on: December 30, 2018, 04:40:44 PM »
Sacramento
30 December 2018
1500 UTC

Hi Maggi,

Thank you for the encouraging comments. Until my current situation changes, I am doing the best I can to make the best of what is put before me. Currently, my ability to conduct botanical outings is limited. Weather and climate are interesting and certainly affect our gardens, wherever we may garden. Change is a constant. From my perspective, being aware of the climatic changes taking place around us help us adapt as gardeners - whatever comes our way.

Here in our part of Northern California, drought and limited water resources are the future, now (as well as new extremes in excessive heat, lack of chilling hours, a consistently dwindling snow pack in the Sierra Nevada and many other weather related issues). Old gardening practices need to give way to something new if we wish to succeed as gardeners in our part of the world. Somewhat recently, Cape Town, South Africa, was the first major metropolitan area to exhaust (more or less) its water supply during drought conditions. There is evidence that climate change is beginning to accelerate. This will affect gardeners everywhere in some respect. Extremes in drought, flooding, heat or cold, catastrophic storms and wildfires, etc. will most likely become normal rather than an anomaly. If nothing else, I hope that my postings help gardeners contemplate and access the changes that are taking place in their neighborhood and adapt successfully.



I did, indeed, make it to Peavine Ridge the other morning, 29 December. Currently I have a very busy schedule, so to make things work I left Sacramento at 4:00 a.m. It was a bit chilly and I needed to work in the dark at several locations. I was at least prepared for the cold and the dark.

There was only a trace of snow on the ground on the crest of Peavine Ridge. The ground was frozen fairly stiff, temperature 24 F (-4.4 C). The remaining small patches of snow will not persist, as warmer and continued dry weather will be arriving over the next week.

Dawn arrived as I was preparing to drive back to Sacramento. The clouds were beautifully tinted pink.

As I write here in Sacramento, dawn has arrived. The roofs of the houses in our neighborhood are frosted white, our first frost of the season in our part of Sacramento.

P.S.

Maggi,

It is time for me to make a financial contribution to forum, which I will be doing soon. I agree 100%, this forum is a fantastic resource.  :)
« Last Edit: December 30, 2018, 04:45:16 PM by Robert »
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

hamparstum

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #456 on: December 30, 2018, 11:11:04 PM »
Robert, I just want to thank you for all your contributions all along! Some of your Penstemons are in bloom just now. More are developing into lovely perennials and hopefully later this season they might bloom for the first time. The same goes for your Lewisias, another genus that has captivated my interest. Each genus provides infinite source of challenge and maintains high my dedication. Both are part of this just only one planet we all share. Yes climatic change is definitely here! Fortunately a consistently growing number of people that are aware of it. Although I belong to the subset of people that are convinced that it is caused by mankind ( thus could be addressed by it), still in the transition of past situations to the present one we have to adjust and adapt. Life as shown by plants is a continuum of adaptation...
Arturo
Arturo Tarak

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #457 on: December 31, 2018, 05:11:27 PM »
Arturo,

It is very pleasing to hear that so many plants are doing well for you. I know that I need to contact a few forumist and let them know how things are progressing. It gladdens the heart to see something new germinating or blooming for the first time that was a kind gift from someone.

Climatic change will be a recurring theme in this diary. Much of my current activities in the Sierra Nevada centers around the mesoscale impacts of climate change on the environment and flora. There are a number of theories being thrown around in the Climatology community at may apply in our area. I am interesting in discovering if they are relevant and how they might play out on our local scale.

Negative anthropogenic impacts (of any sort) can be a sensitive subject. Pointing the finger seems counterproductive. I hope to avoid this sort of discussion. My attitude is to report what I observe, think about things that might truly work, and if something is not working, to find solutions so it does. I have no input as to our local policies. This is okay. In my world, it is more important to put my best efforts forward (the work of the world needs to be done), then it is some else's responsibility to ignore my efforts of do something else.

I hope that you have a new camera.  :)
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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« Last Edit: January 04, 2019, 02:36:28 PM by Maggi Young »
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

 


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