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Regime Change 30/12/2014

Posted by zoidion in Climate, forecast, Photography, Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: Short, cold, sunny day follows shorter, cold, sunny day, as the siege of clouds slips into fading memory. Even considering that December tends to be the cloudiest time of year in these parts, it was a period that had local meteorologists combing through the records. Yes, the first twenty-three days of the month in 2014 were the cloudiest since solar radiation records began here in 1962.

What I recall are fairly frequent sun and night-sky views up to the Full Moon on 6 December. I particularly remember a party I went to that Saturday night: There was plenty of good food and drink–my contribution was a bottle of home-made elderberry wine–and folks who love to make music and sing. I got out my fiddle, though I had a hard time hearing myself or telling whether I was in tune. By midnight there were only about six of us left, and I was enjoying suggesting songs from the “old days”: the ’60s and ’70s. “The Weight,” for example. As I headed out the door, facing south, the Moon was at the zenith, shining brightly.

By morning, the clouds had rolled in, and they stayed and stayed. There was a one-day partial break on the 17th, after a quarter-inch of rain had fallen. Then the weather settled into a mild pattern with intermittent rain and snow. 

The solstice passed under a gloomy pall, with another quarter-inch of rain falling.

At last, on the evening of the 26th, the temperature dropped into the freezing zone and the clouds dropped about six inches of snow. The gloom lifted, and the temperature dropped some more. Back to normal weather.

In the midst of it all, there have been some joys of observation: a few days after the solstice, an emerging flower stalk on one of my indoor aloe vera plants, and the sighting of Venus low in the southwest after sunset. 



Venus, faintly visible–or is it, since reducing the image size–to the right of the steam cloud, is only sixteen degrees from the Sun. Mercury is close behind / below Venus, and still–barely–within the Sun’s beams, but fails to catch up before turning retrograde on 21 January; Mercury won’t catch up until August, after Venus turns retrograde: both evening stars, before Venus disappears for a time.

Sure, the regime of clouds was climate–a pattern typical of this region at this time of year–but it was also weather: a particular series of events represented in the planetary patterns.

The warming trend was reflected in the arrival of Mars at the upper meridian of the season chart (Libra solar ingress, 22 September), but two factors in the Full Moon chart correlate with the persistent gloom and moisture: Saturn on the horizon and Neptune near the lower meridian. (My forecast for Full Moon week had included “persistent cold”: correct by half.) Also, Saturn had moved to the horizon of the season chart. See chart comparison below.

Libra Ingress_FM-Dec-2014

The forecast for the Fourth Quarter week was essentially correct. The Uranian factor in the chart (near the lower meridian) was reflected in a sharp drop in temperature–twenty-eight degrees in twenty-four hours–before the day of partial clearing. The bit of rain correlated with the Moon in that chart being conjunct Venus in the season chart.

The New Moon week also played out much as forecast: “cool at first, milder trend starting 24 December, dry until 26th.” It was the Moon, crossing the place of Neptune near the upper meridian, that triggered precipitation and the change of air mass.

Cap Ingress_27.12.2014

When the sky cleared during the afternoon of the 27th, it afforded the first glimpse of Moon since New (two hours after solstice on the 21st) and only the second since Full. It announced the replacement of Pacific airflow with Arctic airflow.

Real winter has arrived.


(A suggested item from the Internet smorgasbord: George Monbiot on “rewilding,” requiring only fifteen minutes of your life. “An ounce of hope is worth a ton of despair.”)


2014: The Year in (a few) Photos 22/12/2014

Posted by zoidion in Photography.
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