Thursday, September 29, 2011

Local SDT Weather Data! OCT 1 – SEP 30 Water Year


One year of weather data doesn’t allow for trend analysis--but for geeks like me, it is fun. A few obvious things stand out--like when the sunshine is at its peak. Locals always complain about February and it was “brutto” this year rain-wise. November had more rain, but was warmer. Our annual precipitation (47 in.) here is not unlike the situation in Portland, Oregon.  At our farm in central Oregon, we had only 12 in. per year.

The weather in surrounding towns on the Riviera dei Cedri is very similar to Santa Domenica Talao. In the hottest months, SDT can be 1-3 degrees Celsius lower due to hilltown breezes.  BUT, if the breezes are not here, we are usually the same as the lowlanders by the beach.  Average wind in SDT is about 4mph--(see the gust reports for how the squalls behave when they arrive). We had lots of dead air in August. The Calabrians always complain about weather, so I felt right at home. Next week it’ll drop to 17 or so and they will be out in their sausage coats!

Our instruments are from Oregon Scientific. The equipment on the roof has minimal interference from nearby structures.  Like professional weather services, the temps are recorded in the shade. You hear people talking about temps in the high 30’s and 40’s here, but that is in the sun. When we told you about experiencing 43C/114F in Egypt--that was measured in the shade. Measurements are in both metric and American except for wind speeds.


Actual Temp
 L/H
 Ave Temp
L/H
Sunny Days
Ave % L/H
 Humidity
Monthly
Precip
High Wind
Gust MPH
Notes
OCT
10/29C
50/84F
14/23C
57/74F
No data
45/83%
178.3mm
6.93in
34
15% annual
precip
NOV
8/30C
46/86F
12/20C
53/67F
14.5
49/88
320mm
12.6in
59.7
27% annual
precip
DEC
-2/25C
29/77F
7/15C
44/59F
23
43/85
121.6mm
4.79in
59
2 days snow
100mm 
JAN
4/21C
39/70F
8/17C
47/63F
13.5
41/81
69.5mm
2.74in
46.5

FEB
1/24C
34/75F
7/15C
44/59F
18.5
42/80
199.1mm
7.84in
37
16% annual
precip
MAR
1/27C
33/81F
8/16C
46/62F
25.5
38/76
139mm
5.5in
47.6
Sunny days
returning
APR
7/25C
45/77F
12/20C
45/77F
22
30/69
5.3mm
0.21in
32

MAY
9/28C
48/82F
14/24C
58/75F
29
36/77
93.8mm
3.69in
34

JUN
16/32C
61/90F
19/26C
66/80F
26
42/72
12.7mm
0.24in
28

JUL
18/34C
63/93F
23/28C
74/83F
30.5
39/63
3.1mm
0.24in
38.7

AUG
18/31C
64/88F
21/28C
70/83F
31
31/62
0
0
28
Annual
Precip
SEP
14/31C
56/88F
20/27C
68/81F
26.5
30/61
45.3mm
1.78in
65
 1189mm
46.82in
*
FYI, a sunny day is full sun. A 50% sunny day is partly cloudy--so two partly sunny days totals to one day of sun. Complete overcast is a zero.
*
This was a long hot summer. It felt worse than the data shows as far as humidity. There were a lot of days in Jul/Aug when we had no breezes, so the heat and humidity (comfort index) worsened. The humidity comes and goes. In comparison, we had more humidity (in the 50-60% range) this year than last year. Certainly not as miserable as in the American South—but you get spoiled living in the dry Western US for 40 years.
*
Oh, and thanks to Di--not only for being the blog queen--I have no idea how this gets onto a blog--but also for working hard to make the Excel spreadsheets I use for the weather data. I am in her debt once again. In the past, if I ever needed a spreadsheet at work, she would make it at home and I would email it to the office! Now I just have to keep her gin and tonics cold delivered on-time.  Guido, a weather geek in Southern Italy

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Diversity Returns to Weather Station SDT

Last week we often wondered about the endless sunshine and heat--greedily awaiting fall and some weather diversity. Suddenly the long range forecast from Il Meteo on the desktop showed dark clouds, rain and much cooler weather for Monday. We watched all weekend and the forecast didn’t change like they often do.  Finally, we are in for change.

Sunrise Monday – blue sky all around. Bummer. But wait, by 8:00 things are developing out to sea.  Hmm--a double water spout had formed and the dark clouds were coming in from the NW. Down at sea and ground level, the winds were changing around to SW winds and the speed was increasing. 

I had a mission that morning to remove a nail from a tire, so left Santa Domenica T. just as this first squall arrived with rain and strong, erratic winds. Windscreen wipers at full speed, I drove to Scalea dodging blowing forest debris coming from the burned-over trees along the road. I just missed a clump of branches that landed in front of me. The entire route to Scalea was covered in bark, leaves and branches. I was unscathed and arrived at Domenico’s garage and they immediately went to work on the tire.

Minutes later, a VW Polo pulled in next to my car and a young professional in tie and coat stepped out to complain about driving to Santa Domenica and meeting the storm.  He pointed at the front below the bumper where all the plastic was broken and branches protruded. He then started pacing around, turning in circles and mumbling things related to Dio and Donna. He reminded me of an Italian Woody Allen – very funny even tho’ I couldn’t understand most of what he said. The garage guys were laughing at him too. He pulled the branch and plastic away, they opened the hood and poured water into the reservoir and it of course it poured from the punctured radiator onto the ground.  More moaning and pacing, “how will I get to work”, etc.

I left that scene with a patched tire, hit the grocery and went home. Turns out Di had her hands full with the squall here. Many plants tipped over on the terrace and there was broken glass from a candle holder. Other neighbors had large potted trees turned over. Our newly replaced weather station recorded gusts of 65 mph/104Km/h. Later learned that many beach lidos had sustained damage from this first squall. There are many temporary buildings and roofs on the beach along with all the umbrellas. There was also damage to some permanent structures. None of this is like the hurricanes, tornados or typhoons many others in the world have had this year, but we did ask for it!









Midday, more weather rolled in with fog first, then more winds and rain--the first measurable rain since June. (35mm/0.87in) It brought back the white water steps and showed that yes, fall is here! 


I will post the results of 12 months of weather observations around 
Oct 1 when the water-year changes.

The rest of the week has been gorgeous with a touch more rain, comfy temps 
and more sunsets to go with those clouds. And the beaches and sea are still comfortable.


For the first time in 8 weeks I am wearing long pants 
and even shoes with socks at times. 


Enjoy your fall, Guido


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ah Settembre!


You are looking at the site for a big new recreational boat harbor in Scalea--plans were in the paper
x
Can you tell fall is on the way?  See the clouds? We love to see them return along with sunsets over the sea visible from our casaNotice in the photo above, it was around 7 PM on the beach in Scalea and there were NO people out there?  We admit it, we are unabashed fall lovers. Of course, we are glad to see spring and summer arrive as well, but nothing can beat fall. It can last all the way to December here too. The summer theme was socializing. I'm not sure what the fall theme will be. For me, I think it will be exercise and fitness and other self improvement items like improving my Italian. It's easy to say that while I'm sitting on the couch in the den on the computer, isn't it?  Maybe I should make a public spectacle of it so that I can't give up. Post my weight and muscle mass every week?...nevermind, not a good idea. See you later, gotta go out and enjoy the day.
x
I don't know about you, but I prefer lots of clouds around my sunsets...
Hopefully, this is the last "smoke" of the year--Vince is voting for that too.  Rain is due on Monday.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fire Ecology--Calabria

Not fall color!
According to the University of Ohio, Fire Ecology is a branch of ecology that concentrates on the origins, cycles, and future stages of wildland fire. It probes the relationship of fire with living organisms and their environment. Three concepts provide the basis for fire ecology:

1) Fire Dependence: This concept applies to species of plants that rely on the effects of fire to make the environment more hospitable for their regeneration and growth.

2) Fire History: This concept describes how often fires occur in a geographical area. Fire scars, or a layer of charcoal remaining on a living tree as it adds a layer of cells annually, provide a record that can be used to determine when in history a fire occurred.

3) Fire Regime: Fire regime is a generalized way of integrating various fire characteristics, such as the fire intensity, severity, frequency, and vegetative community.


4) Fire Adaptation: This concept applies to species of plants that have evolved with special traits contributing to successful abilities to survive fires at various stages in their life cycles. For example, serotinous cones, fire resistant bark, fire resistant foliage, or rapid growth and development enable various kinds of plants to survive and thrive in a fire prone environment.


Very often these types of definitions sidestep the human element and the use of the term "wildland". Living in Calabria makes this pretty clear. Pesky folks in America always bring up the fact that for centuries, American Indians burned vast acreages on purpose to stimulate food production. Does that make it natural?  Does it matter? As far as we can tell, humans in Calabria light fires and have done so for some time (think sheep). 


The following pictures are photo points we took to check on the fire adaptation of the burned vegetation in our neighborhood.  We will compare these pictures with pictures taken from the same points next spring to see what survived, thrived, or died. Are the fire intensity and severity out of sync with the evolution of the vegetation or has the vegetation changed and is no longer fire resistant? We won't be able to answer these question with our small study--but it will be interesting and we'll let you know what we find next spring. Our hypothesis is that the oaks will benefit, but that all depends on whether the fire severity was within "natural" bounds--flame height, etc. Looks bad now, doesn't it?

The only green right now on this oak is mistletoe (or similar plant parasite)






If you look closely, you can see previous fire patterns (shorter versus bigger green trees)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Something Fishy in Old Town Scalea

Nice balmy evening in Scalea
Besides the beaches, the best spot in Scalea (the town downhill from ours) is Centro Storico (Old Town). We had our friends from Oregon here for a few days and they were in time to see one of the last festas of the season in Scalea. It was in honor of fish and fishing and they fried up some tidbits for everyone to try. We elected not to eat here given the fish types they were frying and the music sound level was too much! We ate in a small pizzeria instead--but we were happy the fish lovers were happy:


A very big vat of boiling oil!

Friends from Brighton, England who have a flat in Old Scalea. What were those kids thinking??!

Standing -- Our friends from Oregon, USA
                                                                                         

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