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Heavy Weather 14/07/2017

Posted by zoidion in forecast, homesteading, Photography, urban agriculture, Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: The solstice has come and gone, the poignancy of the start of the long slide into darkness replaced by a sometimes febrile rush to embrace the fruits of the season. Along with the poignancy, and alongside the lushness of midsummer, comes a sobering recognition of areas of failure in the garden, and the necessity of waiting ten months for the next opportunity to do better.

For improved yields, two main points stick with me: I would do much better to use fresh seed (and discard older seed), and I can better safeguard the viability of the garden’s produce by saving seed from what has (obviously) successfully adapted to weather and soil conditions on the most local level of all: my yard.

As for fruits: First came the red currants. Not enough to make jelly, but enough to press and cook (just a bit) for a very rich juice. Then came the cherries: a prodigious yield from one medium-sized tree, five years out from planting, requiring much labor in the picking and pitting. (Neighborhood fireworks on the Fourth of July punctuated a delicious cherry cobbler.) Almost simultaneously, the year’s first crop of red raspberries and only crop of black raspberries began ripening. And now: black currants.

One might gather from such a report that weather has been favorable. Indeed so.

Though there have been scattered incidents of severe weather events in the region, this has been an easy summer so far. Obnoxious heat and humidity have largely remained to the south, and there have been some days — including yesterday — that were cool and cloudy, more typical of September. (Some northern Minnesota low temperatures dropped into the thirties.)

But that pattern is due to change.

The period that most concerns me about local weather is about three weeks away. I know from five years of observation with astrological weather charts that heavy weather is most likely when a lunation — New, Full or quarter Moon — aligns with either the vertical or horizontal axis of the season chart.

It’s fairly to easy to see it coming. With Sol in the late-night quadrant of the Cancer solar ingress (Northern Hemisphere summer solstice) chart, Sol is moving (counter-clockwise) in zodiacal passage toward the western horizon of the chart, where the zoidion Leo is in command.

When Sol enters Leo (where Sol is lord) on 22 July, in hot pursuit of Mars — they conjoin on the 26th — more persistent and withering heat can be expected. As they come to the descendant of the season chart around the fourth of August, challenging conditions of dryness are likely to become more prevalent through the mid-continent. (Keep a watch on the U.S. Drought Monitor, mentioned in the previous post.)


The Full Moon (partial lunar eclipse, not visible from North America) of the seventh of August — stretching across the horizon of the season chart — presents a troubled picture for this area. Capping an extended period of heat buildup, a great degree of atmospheric turbulence is indicated as a cooler air mass advances from the north. What symbolically adds to the forcefulness of the storm potential is Venus: That symbol of moisture has now arrived at eight degrees of water-zoidion Cancer. That is the very midpoint — a power point — between horizon and meridian.

The missing ingredient — a northbound air mass brimming with Gulf of Mexico moisture — seems set to unleash a major rain event.

After multiple such events scattered around the state in recent years, one wonders about the readiness of this metropolitan area, with its vast areas of pavement and water-shedding buildings.

(Fun facts: The all-time record hottest recorded temperatures in this region date from 1936, when the season chart featured fire-zoidion Leo on the ascendant, and Scorpio — where Mars is lord — on the lower meridian: where weather comes down to Earth. The hottest-ever local temperature — one-hundred-ten degrees F — occurred on 14 July 1936, with Sol and Mars less than ten degrees apart in Cancer, plus Mercury and Venus there.)


Recent reading: The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben, 2015; The Harrows of Spring, James Howard Kunstler, 2016
Recent listening: “Koyaanisqatsi,” Philip Glass; “Casual Gods,” Jerry Harrison; “Heavy Weather,” Weather Report; “The American Shadow,” Carolyn Baker on Radio Ecoshock
Recent investigation: The background to the “Qatsi” series of three films; link — “A Visit with Godfrey Reggio,” WNYC radio 2014


Equinox Epicenter 26/03/2015

Posted by zoidion in Climate, forecast, Long Emergency.
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Twin Cities ephemera: It’s yet another cloudy, chilly, although so far not breezy, day. At least I got myself outside for the seven a.m. look at the precipitation gauge, and was rewarded with a glimpse of blue along the southern horizon.

As typical as it is, it’s been tiresome, especially after the unseasonable warmth and sun of two weeks ago. This time of year, these conditions are a trigger for illness, and with a cough making an appearance yesterday, I figured I’d better start the day with an elderberry tonic. It would be great to avoid a repeat of last year’s two-month spring crud.

The week has been fairly close to astro-meteorological expectations: Two snowfalls — just a little too cold for rain — and quick melting added 0.38 inch of welcome water to the ground.

Even so, nearly all of Minnesota is now officially in the first stage of drought. It’s not just California, Texas and Oklahoma.

Fortunately, the sky was clear at first light of the morning after the equinox. It was easy to spot Saturn, already past its zenith and arcing toward the west. But there was too much light pollution to spot Mercury, which is moving into the Sun’s beams again.

The main thing on this occasion was to be present for the start of the day and the season — to be outside in the frosty air with the element of fire, in a quasi-ritual manner: as much as can be managed in a semi-public urban setting.

You see, I’ve been stirred lately by a quote, which I refer to as “Back into Relation,” supposedly from David Herbert Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterly’s Lover.” It begins:

We must get back into relation, vivid and nourishing relation to the cosmos and the universe. The way is through daily ritual, and the re-awakening. We must once more practice the ritual of dawn and noon and sunset, the ritual of the kindling fire and pouring water.

Thus, I had a tall, full watering can handy as I put a match to the tent of paper and twigs I’d assembled in the campfire pod. As the flames reached the brown foliage of Scotch pine left over from the 2013 Yule tree, I found myself doing a dance to stamp out the sparks in the short grass round about. (And I recalled the skill and wherewithal I had twenty years ago to generate fire from a bow and drill.)

As the fire caught on the small logs of silver maple, I began circling the back yard, to see what there was to see: above, the briefly pink bands of thin clouds to the east; below, a crushed seed pod from one of last year’s milkweed plants; scattered about, the brown pellets of fertilizer left by the feral rabbits. Yep, those critters give as well as take.

My mind was also swimming in images and words echoing from the previous evening, when I’d dropped in on the potluck dinner — contributing a bottle of my homemade elderberry wine (well-received) — and showing of the film “Symphony of the Soil” organized by the Transition Longfellow group, on the other side of town. 

Nearly a week later, I find so much of the information and imagery melding that it is a challenge to extract specific pieces. It is easy enough to recall the large-scale tragedies: the loss of soil to erosion, pollution and pavement. It is harder to recall such regenerative marvels as that performed on range land by dung beetles and the very deep-growing plant communities of the prairies.

Year of Soils

(The logo for the United Nations theme in this Year of Soils.)

And in the midst of it all, I can’t seem to shake out of my head the words of the not-so-old song by the Wilburys:

While you’re strolling down the fairway
Showing no remorse
Flowing from the poisons
They’ve sprayed on your golf course
While you’re busy sinking birdies
And keeping your scorecard
The devil’s been busy in your back yard

It seems that a lot of folks are wondering, what happened to that early spring? It was quite a temperature surge.

As Jeff Masters’s blog on Weather Underground described it:

The hottest late-winter airmass on record across the central Great Plains sent temperatures on Monday [16 March] to absurd values for mid-March. As a trough of low pressure strengthened over the northern Plains, westerly winds were driven downslope from the Colorado Rockies. Already very warm for the elevation and time of year, the air mass warmed even more as it descended toward lower elevations. Both Nebraska and Iowa saw the only 90°F temperatures known to have occurred before the spring equinox in more than a century of record-keeping at the states’ major reporting stations. The heat also persisted in California, where downtown Los Angeles endured its fourth 90°F day in a row–the first time any March has produced four 90°F days, consecutive or otherwise, in records going back to 1877.

Well, from an astro-meteorological perspective, there are two indicators. First, the timing of the surge is related to the conjunction of Mars and Uranus in fire sign Aries, which was exact on 11 March. (Mars signifies rising temperature, drying conditions and violent energetic shifts, while Uranus indicates short sharp shocks and record-breaking situations.)

Around here, the 10th was the first of the bizarrely warm days, the temperature zooming up once the thin snow cover was gone. After the 16th, temperatures slid back to average or below-average.

Second, a new seasonal regime came into effect with the equinox. The key astro-meteorological factor in the spring chart is fire sign Sagittarius on the lower meridian, but with Saturn — indicating cooler, cloudier conditions — added to the mix. Thus, dramatically unseasonable periods are so  . . . two weeks ago.

Relatively cool temperatures will largely hold through the spring, with lowered temperature gradients — meaning less north-south temperature differences and less atmospheric fuel for tornadic activity. Long story short: a relatively quiet primary tornado season. That’s good news for much of the center of the USA.

The bad news is an expanding drought zone: further battering of the industrial agriculture system, more pain for food shoppers, more demand at food shelves.

Okay, so there has been another round of warm-weather record-setting. But there have been just as many, if not more, cold-weather records, including historic snowfalls in New England and late-winter cold and ice storms in the South.

The climate situation is complicated: “Warming” is far too simplistic, inaccurate and deceptive. In this regard, Ben Davidson, the public face of Suspicious Observers, provides a very worthwhile summary, entitled “The Top Six Climate Change Problems.”


Davidson supports his major points, which challenge much of climate change orthodoxy. (But where are the links to reports and investigations cited in the video?)

(1) Climate is changing unexpectedly (e.g., more cold than heat records), and pollution is a major factor.

(2) It is difficult to trust what we are told: More than mere mistakes in climate modeling, much data has been altered; integrity is in question.

(3) The future is uncertain, whether the long-term trend is to be warmer or cooler.

(4) The entire solar system is changing: e.g., Venus’ slower rotation, Jupiter’s radio emissions, Saturn’s cyclical storm coming earlier, Uranus’ auroras and storms.

(5) The Sun — which energizes Earth’s atmosphere and influences earthquake activity — may dictate Earth’s future; the recent decline in solar activity can precipitate long-overdue cooling on Earth.

(6) Humans are interfering with the weather — through weather modification and geo-engineering — and hundreds of patents in this field have already been issued.

(See/hear also the podcast — featuring Jennifer Francis on how the Arctic drives weird weather, and Daniel Brooks on advance of parasites with climate change — with copious program notes on Radio Ecoshock.)

Thus, amid climatic challenges and overall economic decline, the race to influence rainfall and “steer” weather systems is an area of burgeoning growth. What strange times . . .


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