First the good news! Commodore Marty investigated last month and found that our brand of algae isn’t problematic–thanks for taking care of us Marty!
Now, when you look at those low clouds on the horizon, do you recognize that you’re seeing? Can you tell the difference between a shelf cloud and a wall cloud? It’s pretty easy to distinguish them, because shelf clouds are low-hanging horizontal, wedge-shaped clouds associated with the leading edge of a thunderstorm gust front (or occasionally with a cold front, even in the absence of t-storms). They look ominous, but they are usually just awesome! No, wall clouds do not come from Walmart! Wall clouds appear at the rear part of a thunderstorm. They rotate on a vertical axis and they are more dangerous than shelf clouds.
Beware of “home brews”! Did you know that meteorologists often call non-tropical storms that originate over the U.S. mainland and then develop just offshore over the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic into tropical systems “home brew” tropical storms? Tropical Storm Barry got its start over Georgia, swept out into the Gulf of Mexico where it became a Category I hurricane and came back ashore just west of New Orleans, dumping lots of rain all the way north on its arc through Ohio and parts east. If Barry had stayed closer to the coastline, it would not have become so strong, because friction effects of the land would have slowed it down. On the other hand, if Barry had ventured farther out into the Gulf of Mexico, it could have become even stronger, because hurricanes need 80F-90F-degree water to power them! Are you aware that intense wind shear can blow the tops off the hurricanes and depower them? Did you know that just north of where the center of that storm makes landfall, its rainfall is likely to increase at an exponential rate? So why are these storms called “home brews:? Probably because they are made right here in the good old U.S. of A. We don’t have to import them “Out of Africa”, so we don’t need to charge tariffs on them. Also, the balance of trade isn’t affected!
WANT A COOL READ FOR HOT SUMMER DAYS? Try “The Ice at the End of the World”, by Jon Gertner, available at the Westerville Library. Explorer Robert Peary called Greenland’s regions “the eternal ice”, but is it eternal? The book describes early, laborious expeditions that explored the unknown, bitterly cold interior or Greenland. Some explorers returned, but others were lost. Man-hauling (men pulling sleds) and dogsledding were later replaced by motorized vehicles, including trucks, airplanes and helicopters; and expedition objectives changed just as drastically. From simply getting across the interior, goals shifted to measuring the thickness of the ice pack, its density, and the rate at which is melting. Ice cores were drilled out and collected all the way down to the bedrock. The book points our that Greenland’s glaciers are melting very rapidly, and it poses the ethical question of whether we are willing to sacrifice some of the comforts and luxuries of our lives in order to ensure that our descendants for thousands of years in the future can survive and thrive. The author mentions that we are usually willing to sacrifice for our children and grandchildren, but he wonders how much we are comfortable giving up to those far-flung offspring whom we will never know. Maybe we should ask ourselves what price we are willing to put upon the survival of the human race. Hey, this could mental exercise could beat contemplating our navels all summer, and we might learn a lot about ourselves!