Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kinda Nerdish

Webcams, weather data, maps. I do love the web. So the "SNOTEL - River Basin Snow Water Content" map has finally updated. The recent weather has brought us (the Olympic Peninsula) up to an average snowpack, and probably more important, moved the Sierra Nevada in California up one color on the graphic, from less than 25% of normal to 25%-50% of normal.

Um, yeah, this isn't precipitation, it's what water is stored in the snow. A lot of warm rain— for example, in that NW corner of Oregon— and the water storage doesn't improve, in fact it might get worse...

That Was Then, January 20, 2012 (Click for larger image.)
This is Now: January 30, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

For other anomaly maps, start on the Western Regional Climate Center's Climate Anomalies Maps and Tables page. Overall, alas yes, precipitation in this water year looks bad.

Then there's the grey whale migration to be thinking about.

  • American Cetacean Society/LA, which has been observing since 1979, started on December 1 and is reporting larger-than-average numbers of southbound greys.
  • Grey Whales Count is starting their season on February 13.
  • Orca Network started reporting gray whales in Puget Sound—these are the adventurous (?) early arrivers who probably will stop here instead of completing the migration to the Bering Strait— beginning on January 17.
  • Wayne Perryman counts northbound mother/calf pairs, and will begin the last week of March. He says, "I expect a big year for calf production based on the early retreat of ice last year."
  • Winter Whale Watch Week on the Oregon Coast counted 590 southbound whales. They will count northbound the week of March 19.
  • Journey North has a report from the breeding lagoon at Laguna Ojo de Liebre in Baja, that they are seeing "excellent numbers" of calves. [Later Tuesday evening: Yesssss, it is really time to start thinking about this. Journey North just posted their first Gray Whale update for the season. Good news. It's looking like good news.]
  • I will try to wait until the end of February to start going out to First Beach to fail to see whales. Just so I don't get bored with all that fruitless watching too early in the season.

It's quiet on the dam cams, the working barge has not reappeared on the cam since they pulled it out of the way of the blasting on the east corner at Glines Canyon last week, but the Dam Removal Blog has some nice images from last week's action.

Shout-out to @TheRedElm for the title of this post.

And very much looking forward to being able to also embed this quote (go read it), which belongs exactly here but which is in an article by @JenHoward not yet published.

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