Wednesday, September 12, 2007

That Chill in the Air . . .

. . . and that smell of heated dust as the furnace starts up for the first time this season. I put it off as long as I could, and we're leaving the thermostat low, even though it makes for somewhat clumsy typing fingers. The original house is still closed in, but it's not quite as weather resistant as it used to be. And once we get the new part closed in, there will be a spell when I don't want it heating much, until we get the vapour barrier in to prevent condensation in the walls. Eek. 'Tis the season of desperately hard work before freeze-up.

Speaking of weather, I found a new source of online weather forecasts. I have used Environment Canada for years now, but in these days of eyes on the sky, I grew envious when I heard talk of a 14-day forecast. The Weather Network clearly uses the same observation stations, but they seem much more willing to go out on a limb with more detailed and extended forecasts. So far, I think the Environment Canada temperature predictions are closer to the mark, and the 14-day predictions are only a rough guide, but still useful.

If you're marveling at the temperature differences showing up between Moose Mountain Park in the hills and Carlyle on the flats nearby, look closer. The actual observations come from Broadview and Estevan respectively.

That brings up another issue. I have a CD of weather data for western Canada, and browsing through that, my impression is that the number of stations collecting weather information has declined steeply in recent decades. Does that seem odd to you? Here we are, all concerned about rapid climate change and perturbed regional weather patterns and more erratic weather events, and at the same time, we are relying on an increasingly sparse net of stations to tell us what is actually happening on the ground.

And in these days of increasing emphasis on "citizen science," I couldn't find anything on the Environment Canada website about opportunities for citizens to make weather observations, except the Skywatchers program for schools. I know Garth's uncle submits weather observations. I'll ask him.

But I won't be volunteering this fall!

7 comments:

Granny said...

I've been reading but mostly lurking.

We aren't at the furnace stage here just yet but our mornings are nippy and temp has dropped 20° in a couple of weeks. We're now mid 80's (F)

SimplyTim said...

Laura,

It's amazing how the temperature shifts around here in the Northeast right after Labor Day.

I'm still on vacation and am absorbing into my being the cooler temperatures, brisk winds, blue skies and puffy white clouds while listening to the water lapping on the shore of the pond. It reminds me of similar days passed and I am thankful that I can be outside to take it all in.

Tomorrow I'm off to K'port, Nubble Light, and the Marginal Way (think southern Maine). I'm like a squirrel packing in these fresh breezes to nibble on when I return to the office next week.

Tim

arcolaura said...

Granny - oof! Does that mean a couple of weeks ago you were mid 100's? I'd much rather face our -40 (F or C) winters than a summer like that.

Tim - those place names remind me of the names I've heard from Newfoundland: things like Come-by-chance and Joe Batt's Arm. Hope you get a good stash of autumn to get you by.

Madcap said...

It's pretty early, and I'm looking out at a very frosty field across the way. And my furnace is kicking on too.

Is your dad still working with you on the project?

It doesn't look like we're going to be in our next house for a quite a long while. We're considering selling this one and renting in Gawdswat though, to cut down on the drive and nuisance for Chive.

arcolaura said...

Yep, Dad's still showing up at 8 a.m. every morning. Sometimes I've only been awake for 15 minutes, and I see his truck turning in and scramble to dress and finish breakfast. I don't know how he does it, working here all day every day plus working on his own stuff at home, plus driving back and forth. All I have to do is roll out of bed and pick up a hammer.

I imagine being close to the new house would make a big difference for Chive. We have actually thought about renting another house here, so we could get a bit further away from the work, and get our belongings out from underfoot.

Good luck with it all!

Deb said...

I haven't found many opportunities for being a volunteer weather observer here either. I guess my blog will have to be the chronicle of odd temperatures.

arcolaura said...

Odd, isn't it? I talked to Garth's uncle, and it sounds like he got no response to his initial offers to operate a weather station, but then they contacted him to say they needed someone in his area. He had already collected data on his own for years, but they wouldn't use it.