Native Plants, Habitat Restoration, and Other Science Snippets from Athens, Georgia

Friday: 15 February 2013

Orange  -  @ 09:19:08
We've had rain since Sunday afternoon. It's clearing up now, but we did tuck 1.74 inches into February's belt. Not the 5 inches I was thinking from the way the models looked late last week, but we'll go with what we can get.

These lovelies were growing out of a dead loblolly pine two days ago. They're fuzzy looking, and very very orange. I'm sure I haven't run across anything like them before, and I can't seem to peg them in my mushroom guides. I'll have to check back by there by this afternoon to answer a few taxonomic questions.

Well, that didn't help much. I came away having convinced myself despite true gills and growing on a pine that they were chanterelles (they're not). Pretty, though!

In other news, what began as a sore throat and cold on Saturday afternoon turned into fever and what I'm convinced was a relatively mild but still annoying case of the flu. I had the shot in December, so this was likely a strain not covered by the flu vaccine cocktail.

Saturday: 9 February 2013

Delusions of Grandeur  -  @ 06:17:07
I have been looking through landform descriptions - that won't come as any surprise after yesterday's unfinished post - and I ran across the word "thalweg," which has its uses.

The thalweg (tall veg, with a hard g) is the deepest part of a channel, usually a waterway, although it can be a valley not covered by water.

I suppose even Goulding Creek has a thalweg. It's there, below, just off the far bank. It's deepest there, if only by a few inches, because the creek runs fastest around the outer orbit of the curve.

Creeks or rivers or streams are often used as convenient property boundaries. The thalweg is then often used as the more defined boundary line (especially in a broad river - here, it's not that important). I suppose making the common boundary the deepest part of a channel makes sense if that's the only navigable part of a river, say, between two states.

Our own surveyor's plat had the abbreviation MOTC along the Goulding Creek property line. It took me awhile to figure out that it meant "middle of the creek" (or channel, or stream, MOTS). Goulding Creek is not navigable, except for paper boats, so I don't guess we need to use the thalweg.

Thursday: 7 February 2013

Unfinished Post  -  @ 14:30:00
I've been thinking about this for awhile, and took some photos the other day. I've put them up here, one after another, annotated as you see. Here are some words:

canyon, valley, hollow (holler), draw, ravine, ditch, gorge, gully, combe (coomb), cleuch (clough), dell (dale), gill, glen, chine, arroyo, gulch. Dissected hills.

Tuesday: 5 February 2013

The Month of January  -  @ 08:06:42
It was The Month of January, Number 84 in a series. Yes, that makes 7 years.

Here are the usual temperature anomalies products, at the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center.

After the November and December anomalously high temperatures in the US West, coolness finally showed up in January. No so for the part of the country east of the Rockies. Temperatures continued higher than normal there, and the hottest region, 6-8 degF higher than normal, migrated southeastward.

We find the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center's precipitation plots here.

November was dry for most of the country, and in December much of the eastern and western US received normal to above normal rainfall. In January, dry conditions crept back in for the southwest and mid section of the country, as well as Florida, the eastern Gulf Coast, and the Atlantic Coast.

For the Athens, GA area:

Here is a plot of our daily temperatures excursions in January, along with precipitation amounts as experienced in Wolfskin. Temperatures remained unusually high, as the above anomalies map indicated:

The average monthly temperature for January was 49.3 degF, more than 6 degrees above normal (December was more than 4 degrees above normal). We had 9 days more than 1 standard deviation above normal highs (5.2 normal), and 0 days more than 1 standard deviation below normal lows (4.3 normal). This was the eighth warmest January since 1920. Overall we've been above (and usually well above) average temperatures all winter, so far.

Despite this, we broke no high temperature daily records in January.

The monthly histogram below shows the breakdown of high and low temperature range counts from January 1948 on. For both the Highs and Lows, the high temperature brackets showed significant numbers way above average. We normally have 2 (+/-2) days above 70; this January we had 8 such days. The mid and low range highs were also significantly above or below average, with 4 days below 40 degF when we usually have 12 such.

The figure below shows the Athens precipitation data which are official for our area. As usual the green line shows our actual rainfall, the red shows the average accumulation expected. The black dots are rainfall over the last 20 years, the vast river of peach shows the standard deviation, and those rare blue color at the beginning and middle show we got above 1 SD surplus of rain for those times.

Our total out here was 4.64", and in Athens (shown here) it was 4.97". 4.05" is normal for January, so we were above normal, although not quite as bountiful as in December.

Prognosticator stuff:

What is the neat prognosticator telling us? These much warmer temperatures look to persist over the next month for the eastern US, and then possible creep back to normal over the three month period. Again for us in the east, precipitation is predicted to be way above normal over the first half of February, and then equal chance of above/below normal afterwards.

ENSO stuff:

The folks at CPC have a version of PDF or HTML that is much different from their previous presentations, but at least it's there and the link isn't broken.

As of Feb 4, ENSO neutral conditions continue, and are expected to remain neutral through Northern Hemisphere spring.

As of Jan 29, the US Drought Monitor continues to have most of Georgia in extreme to exceptional drought, despite the rains of December and January. Much of the US continues to be under at least abnormally dry or moderate drought classification, with a lot of the country in severe or extreme drought. Some improvement is expected for the northern 2/3 of Georgia.

NOAA's Monthly State of the Climate product for December is available, and includes discussion of the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. More excitingly, the annual report for 2012 regionally, nationally, and globally is now also available. Revisit your favorite moments of 2012: storms, tornados, drought, shitty snow packs, wildfires, and Isaac and Sandy!

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