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Forecast: Spring 2015 15/02/2015

Posted by zoidion in agriculture, forecast, Long Emergency, permaculture, Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: Barely an inch of snow covers the ground (ice covers many pavements since the “Mercury-station storm”) — compared to a foot or more a year ago. The snow labyrinth I stamped out in the back yard then, and walked morning and evening for over a month, is a sweet and distant memory.

And true thus far to the forecast for Last Quarter week, wind has been a significant factor: When I walked yesterday morning to do an errand, I found myself walking with head lowered, to keep my face from freezing.

But I continue to begin my days with a survey of the back yard, wondering how much the chicken-wired hazelnut seedlings will grow this year, pondering how to fill in more space around the cherry and pear trees with more edible perennials, picturing tall elecampane growing up from yet-to-be-acquired seed or root division, the groundnut vines proliferating, and the cup plants even taller than last year.

The main thing is: I see them lush and vibrant and attended by welcome birds and insects, nourished by the invisible mycorrhizal network, itself aided by the forest soil inoculation I performed last spring.

The rainwater capture system needs more work, as soon as the ground is bare. That is essential, for reliance on municipal chlorinated, whatever-else-ated water is not an option. I think I can get through a dry garden season with rainwater alone–even though the rain supply began tapering off in mid-summer 2014, enough water was already stored, in the ground and in the rain barrels.

But for irrigation-dependent Big Ag and for smaller growers who have yet to begin adopting permaculture principles, 2015 looks like a rough year. For one thing, many small towns and rural groups are pushing back against the agricultural polluters and water-grabbers. And for nearly all,  the pinch will be showing up in grocery prices.

Outline for the season in the upper Mississippi River basin: Spring 2015

Two words: warm, dry. The contrast between 2014 and 2015 is emphatic. The dry conditions that began in autumn 2014 persist and become problematic at the start of the growing season.

Turbulent weather is likely, though primarily in more southern regions, from mid-May to mid-June.

Primary season chart indications: Fire sign Sagittarius on lower meridian (with Saturn close by) signals a warm and dry spring, with drought patterns becoming more firmly established. Mercury is again, as in the previous (winter) chart, exactly on the western horizon, indicating that the area remains on a boundary between air masses: Moisture brushes by to the south, often leaving merely a trace while some areas relatively nearby receive ample or sufficient rain.

(Such exceptions notwithstanding, drought regions expand through much of the U.S. midsection: Food and water resource crises, long warned about, are now at hand.)

The New Moon, with Mars and Uranus, in fire sign Aries (though the Sun-Moon conjunction/solar eclipse was thirteen hours earlier, in water sign Pisces) — plus Jupiter in fire sign Leo (until August) — emphasizes the contrast with 2014 (when Jupiter and Saturn were in water signs), when chilly conditions persisted through the summer.



Lunar Week by Lunar Week

New Moon (solar eclipse): 20 – 26 March (lunar perigee 19 March)
An overall pleasant, somewhat cool week with moderate earth-awakening rains. However, they are a deceptive start to the season.

First Quarter: 27 March – 3 April
Rain sputters out, pattern shifts to dry and mild, then cool front on 2 April with a little rain.

Full Moon (lunar eclipse): 4 – 11 April
Sharply colder 5-6 April, then sharply warmer. A little rain through the period.

Last Quarter: 12 – 18 April (lunar occultation of Uranus 17 April)
Rain likely, particularly 15 April, but most likely as either drizzle or deluge. Sharply colder — probable heavy frost — 17-18 April.

New Moon: 19 – 25 April (lunar perigee 17 April)
Warming trend with persistent turbulence. Some destructive storms likely.

First Quarter: 26 April – 3 May
Cooler, especially starting 29 April, and dry.

Full Moon: 4 – 10 May
Warmer, continued dry.

Last Quarter: 11 – 17 May (lunar perigee 15 May)
Intermittent rain through period, but cumulatively of little significance. Gradually warming.

New Moon: 18 – 24 May (Mercury stationary retrograde 18 May)
Northern chill and southern heat battle through the period. Destructive storms likely, especially 18 May.

First Quarter: 25 May – 1 June
Continued turbulence with increase in humidity, intensifying as the Moon grows. (Considerable tornado danger in the south.)

Full Moon: 2 – 8 June
Still turbulent, again especially in the south. The US midsection under siege, with major transportation disruptions.

Last Quarter: 9 – 15 June (lunar perigee 10 June; Mercury stationary direct 11 June; lunar occultation of Uranus 11 June, of Mercury 14 June)
Turbulence gradually abating: time to survey the wreckage, pick up the pieces and determine what can be salvaged.

New Moon: 16 – 23 June
A warm and mostly pleasant spell: Hallelujah!

Be well. Stay aware.



Mercury Tricks 11/02/2015

Posted by zoidion in Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: Fortunately, it was a short walk — with only one skid and no fall — in the dark tonight, coming back from the bus stop. The temperature wasn’t terrible, but the wind was nasty — nearly blowing away the sweet memory of a walk in the sun only two days before, and the generally easy weather of the previous week.

Yesterday featured a rosy dawn, a classic indication of an imminent storm. And lo and behold, within a couple of hours a barrage of sleet was sounding on windows and settling into an icy sheet on every exposed surface. Just enough snow followed to obscure the slipperiest parts of any walking path.

Typically for this winter, it didn’t amount to much precipitation: two-tenths of an inch, with only three-tenths for all of January.

It seems a mean joke, and one that will stick around a while: The techno-weather forecast accords with my own cold one for the coming week, issued back in December. But as rude and unpleasant as the outdoor reality is here, the reports about some other areas are much worse, or just strange: recipients of Mercury’s tricks during the just-ended retrograde phase.

“Mercury retrograde,” commonly-dreaded three-week periods three times a year, relates to astro-weather study as a primary indicator of shifts in wind patterns. And in the past few weeks, in apparent retrograde motion, Mercury has transited for a second time over the place of Mars in the season chart of 21 December 2014. On 27 January, to be exact.

The start of the retrograde period (22 January) coincided with the weather shift that has brought one storm after another (one of them with hurricane-force winds) with vast amounts of snow, to Boston and the rest of eastern New England.

In the western tropical Pacific Ocean during the same period, water and air were of course much warmer. That area was marked in the season chart by Mars on the ascendant: a focus of the season’s warmth. (Note the angling red line toward the right side of the astromap below.)


That was exactly where short-lived Typhoon Higos developed to peak intensity, becoming the strongest cyclone on record for so early in the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Why? “Sea-surface temperatures were close to 1°C warmer than average across the region where Higos developed, part of a pattern of unusual warmth covering much of the western tropical Pacific.”

During the week following February’s Full Moon, when Higos arose, the astromap showed the storm’s region again marked by Mars, as well as Uranus: the two (their rising zones represented by the two red lines in the right half of the astromap below) comprising the most turbulent combination.


Fortunately, there were few islands, few humans in Higos’ way.

Mercury’s tricks were of a similar sort, but with devastating results, in the Balkans region. They served to illustrate human folly: deforestation and soil erosion contributing to the worst flooding in forty years in Albania. “Over the last two decades, many Albanian trees close to powerful rivers such as the Vjosa, Osum and Shkumbin have been chopped down by poor villagers desperate for wood, and by entrepreneurs clearing the way for buildings and dams in a construction boom that has largely benefitted foreign firms. The trees had held soil in place for centuries – acting as a sponge during rainfalls – but without them, soil erosion has accelerated flood damage.”

The Mercury-on-the-lower-meridian line for the season runs north-south through the center of the Balkans, and Greece, where, early in the Mercury-retrograde period, the populace elected a new government pledged to reverse the devastating policies of the previous four years.


But during February Full Moon, the Moon and Jupiter were at the upper meridian through the region, the Jupiter line running right through Albania.


Jupiter alone would indicate a period dominated by dry, pleasant weather, but the lunar influence brings a high tide of atmospheric moisture. Good luck turned to bad, worsened by unsustainable harvesting.

Alas, this is a type of story likely to be much repeated, worldwide, as Earth’s atmosphere seeks to rebalance human-caused anomalies, as Gaia shrugs off excess human population.


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