Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Good Relations Mean Weathering Storms

I have been slack over the winter holiday season and have not been doing a great deal of writing.  That does not mean that I haven't been busy though.  My full time job allows me to spend time outdoors and I feel grateful for that.  One of the more recent things I have been tasked with is monitoring precipitation amounts here in our region and honestly it has brought me more enjoyment and thought than I anticipated.  Below is the thoughts I placed on paper for the Kings County Record recently.

Weather is a very popular topic and it is a versatile topic that generates both joyful and depressing conversations.  People like to watch it from the comfort of their homes or while browsing the internet but only a few people develop a true relationship with weather.  To do this you have to get to know it, you have to understand the ups and downs of its personality.  In some cases you have to stand strong in a storm.  Over the last few months I have more fully tried to get to know the local weather more intimately. 

I haven't been alone in my pursuance of this relationship.  Others also wanted to get to know their weather better and so together we have been studying it.  In fact there are a lot of people who watch the weather closely, many, much closer than I do.  My relationship with weather started, like many modern relations today, online.  Following some field work two summers ago, there was a data gap on precipitation that was falling in our region.  It was important to my work that we get to know the weather better and thus the courting began. 

Through some friends I was directed to a website for COCORAHS or Community Collaborative Rain Hail Snow Monitoring Network.  This website was chocked full of information but more importantly it provided me with the tools needed to get my relationship off on the right foot.  Through COCORAHS I was able to get a rain gauge, a snow board, a meter stick, and access to a broader database.

Now part of my daily routine is a morning visit to my rain gauge where I measure the rain fall from the night before and if there was snow I take measurements of that as well.  There is something old fashioned about watching the weather.  It takes commitment which is something that, in my opinion, is missing in many aspects in society.  Honestly, I don't make my trip everyday, but I make an honest effort to get there no matter the weather.

By entering the data it has led me to look back on the history of weather in the region and I'm starting to to see some trends.  Watching the weather is not a one night stand by any stretch, it takes time to get to know its moods.  Don't worry though, if you're worried about getting bored with the relationship, it will change from season to season so there will be something else to understand. 
For me, the precipitation data that I'm collecting will be tracked and contribute to river flow, discharge, and water level data.  This data will allow me and my colleagues to better understand changes to the river due to climate change.  It has provided me with a moment to slow down each morning and my walk to the gauge does feel like a walk down a country road and it there is a relaxing moment that allows me to get my day off on the right foot.

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