I thought I knew a lot about dogs.

Brody on the prowl.

Having been around dog for most of my life you get a good sense of their wants, needs, enjoyments, ailments and irritants.

There’s no doubt I love dogs. Now, I’m not an exclusive dog person, with “grand-kittens” like these how could I not but be smitten be felines also?

Grand-kittens Salem and Smudge.

My good friend Brody is just coming up on 9 years old. He’s a healthy, strong, active dog who has definite ideas about what activities need to be done and when the need to be done. I call him my Chief of Staff.

Brody, Chief of Staff.

Sometime in the past few months Brody had some trauma to his upper canine tooth (the big ones) and we decided to have it removed before it had any infection or other complication.

A root canal was also an option, but that does weaken the tooth so after weighing all of our concerns we opted for the extraction.

Brody is terrified of the Vet. Our doctors and staff at Mandalay Animal Hospital are spectacular and they treat us and our boy with the greatest care. I think Brody has PTSD from his time as a stray when he was about 15 months old. He was found on the streets of Fort Collins and spent some time in the animal shelter…can’t be good memories from that experience.

On Monday we took him in for the surgery and he was there most of the day. He came out very groggy from the anesthesia and pain meds, but with a couple days of rest and care he’s doing really, really well.

It’s about time I made my point about what I DIDN’T know about dogs. There teeth are amazing! We kept his extracted tooth and the root to tooth ratio is astonishing. The evolution of dogs from wolves may have softened their personalities but there bodies still strongly display the one and only weapon (for survival) that they have, their teeth.

Brody’s upper canine tooth.

After seeing my Brody’s canine tooth, all of his canine tooth, I marvel at the natural world even more.

From Kitty Hawk to Mars

The speed of technological development and innovation is dizzing. On December 17, 1903 the Wright Flyer achieved the first powered flight in human history.

This morning NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter took flight on another planet.

NASA’s experimental helicopter Ingenuity rose into the thin air above the dusty red surface of Mars on Monday, achieving the first powered flight by an aircraft on another planet.

The triumph was hailed as a Wright Brothers moment. The mini 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) copter even carried a bit of wing fabric from the Wright Flyer that made similar history at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903.

“Altimeter data confirms that Ingenuity has performed its first flight, the first flight of a powered aircraft on another planet,” said the helicopter’s chief pilot back on Earth, Havard Grip, his voice breaking as his teammates erupted in applause.

It was a brief hop — just 39 seconds — but accomplished all the major milestones.

Project manager MiMi Aung was jubilant as she ripped up the papers holding the plan in case the flight had failed. “We’ve been talking so long about our Wright Brothers moment, and here it is,” she said.

Flight controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California declared success after receiving the data and images via the Perseverance rover. Ingenuity hitched a ride to Mars on Perseverance, clinging to the rover’s belly upon their arrival in an ancient river delta in February.

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward.

When you run into a situation or problem that seems insurmountable, take heart, there is always a positive path forward

This image from NASA’s Perseverance rover shows the agency’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter right after it successfully completed a high-speed spin-up test. It was captured by the Mastcam-Z instrument on Perseverance on April 16, 2021 (the 55th sol, or Martian day, of the rover’s mission). The image has been slightly processed (stretched and cropped). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

Weather and war

You’ve seen my “Weather Is Everything” tagline here on the WXPERT site. Sadly, weather has played a major role in armed conflict throughout human history.

Data extracted from the oldest surviving document recording Korean history shows a strong correlation between extreme weather events and war.

The research, which was recently published as a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), shows the three states that ruled over the Korean Peninsula from 18 BCE to 660 CE were more than twice as likely to be involved in an armed conflict with a neighbor when also experiencing a weather shock such as drought or excessive rainfall.

For the study, Santa Fe Institute External Professor Rajiv Sethi (Barnard College, Columbia University) and co-author Tackseung Jun of Kyung Hee University in South Korea analyzed data extracted from detailed accounts of conflicts and extreme weather events contained in the Samguk Sagi, or History of the Three Kingdoms.

Originally commissioned by King Injong of Goryeo in the 12th century, the Samguk Sagi provides scientists access to rare historical data involving a set of stable political entities for which both weather and conflict events were recorded over several centuries.

Their analysis revealed shocks were far more likely to result in a state’s invasion than for one to go on the offensive.

Additionally, they identified food insecurity as a critical source of vulnerability to invasion.

The researchers’ work sheds new light on the relationship between climate change and war. It could ultimately help with efforts to identify and protect people living in the world today that are particularly vulnerable to climate-related conflict.

“Extreme weather events and military conflict over seven centuries in ancient Korea” is published in PNAS.

Goguryeo armor mural, lifetime 37 BCE-668 CE. Credit: Public Domain

From snow to severe

It may seem crazy to talk about severe weather on a day when it’s snowing, but big thunderstorms are coming right around the corner. Colorado is no stranger to tornadoes. In fact, 13 years ago on May 22nd, 2008, a powerful tornado, rated an EF-3 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, moved through portions of northern Colorado. The tornado cut through Windsor, CO on its 39 mile path, leaving behind a path of destruction, at least 78 injuries, and one fatality. Damage estimates exceeded $100,000,000 from this tornado. While large tornadoes are not as common along the Colorado Front Range as they are across the Eastern Plains, they are possible given the right conditions. The location was not the only oddity with this significant tornado; the tornado moved from southeast to northwest. Only a small minority of all tornadoes move northwest. Also, the tornado formed just before noon, well before the usual time frame when tornadoes are most common. Tornadoes typically form during the afternoon to early evening hours across Colorado.

The tornado threat in Colorado increases rapidly in May and continues through August. Ninety percent of Colorado tornadoes occur during this four month period, but tornadoes have been reported as early as February and as late as November. On average, Colorado experiences 53 tornadoes annually.

Tornadoes have occurred in most areas of the state, but historically 95% of tornadoes occur along and east of Interstate 25 where heat and moisture in the lower atmosphere are often more abundant. Tornadoes can occur at every hour of the day, but most occur between 1pm and 8pm.

Across the country, about 90% of tornadoes are considered weak with winds less than 110 mph. About 10% of tornadoes are considered strong with winds up to 165 mph. Strong tornadoes are responsible for nearly 30 percent of tornado deaths. Violent tornadoes account for only 1% of all tornadoes, but they result in nearly 70 percent of all tornado fatalities because they destroy much of what is in their path.

Supercell thunderstorm produces tornado.

Bora, Bora, Bora

At the base of mountain ranges we get so used to winds that come “downhill” and warm us up. Not today!

Today’s wind along Colorado’s Front Range is called a “Bora” wind, which is a cold (or chilly, depending on what your tolerance is to temperature) that blasts down the slopes putting a bracing element to a spring morning.

Bora winds form when cold, dry air heads up one site of a mountain range. It cools off pretty fast as it goes up in elevation. When it comes back down the other side of the mountains it warms up only to a slightly higher temperature than where it started. Combined with the speed of the wind, it creates a “tear-inducing” breeze that cuts right into your best windbreaker.

The Chinook wind we’re so used to happens when cool and damp air is forced upward by mountains. The air doesn’t cool off very fast because of all of the moisture it carries, which usually ends up raining/snowing out over the mountains. Well, when this air heads down slope all dried out, it warms up way, way faster than it cooled down and… VOILA! The “Snow Eater”

Cold, cold, cold cloud temps!

Holy long underwear! A new paper led by Dr. Simon Proud, research fellow at the Department of Physics and the National Center for Earth Observation, reveals the coldest cloud-top temperature in a severe thunderstorm cloud in the Pacific, observed by an Earth-orbiting satellite.

This temperature of -111°C is more than 30°C colder than typical storm clouds and is the coldest known measurement of storm cloud temperature.

In the lowest section of the Earth’s atmosphere, known as the troposphere, air temperature decreases with altitude and can reach as low as -90°C in the tropics. Thunderstorms and tropical cyclones can grow to high altitudes, up to 18km (11mi), and therefore the tops of these storm clouds become extremely cold.

On 29 December 2018, the VIIRS sensor aboard the American NOAA-20 satellite, overflew a severe thunderstorm in the South Western Pacific, approximately 400km South of Nauru. This storm was so powerful that it pushed through the troposphere and into the stratosphere; continuing to cool as it gained height despite the surrounding air being warmer: An event known as an overshooting top. This overshoot led to the storm cloud becoming the coldest known storm cloud temperature recorded, -111°C, and the tops of the clouds reached an altitude of over 20.5km (12.8mi) above sea level.

Dr. Proud explains. “We found that these really cold temperatures seem to be becoming more common—with the same number of extremely cold temperatures in the last three years as in the 13 years before that. This is important, as thunderstorms with colder clouds tend to be more extreme, and more hazardous to people on the ground due to hail, lightning and wind. We now need to understand if this increase is due to our changing climate or whether it is due to a “perfect storm” of weather conditions producing outbreaks of extreme thunderstorms in the last few years.”

Coldest cloud-top temperature ever recorded. Observation done by the the NOAA-20 Satellite.

Where was the “Guthrie Gibson”?

Now that the “Guthrie Gibson” is safely on its way to Tulsa I can tell you the repairs done to it were executed by the extraordinarily talented Edward Dick at Victor Guitars https://victorguitar.com/ on South Broadway.

Edward also teaches the art of lutherie there at the shop. The Colorado School of Lutherie is where skill and artistry combine to create new musical instruments. https://coloradoschooloflutherie.com/

Awesome History

Something a little different today… Over the weekend I had the pleasure of visiting one of my favorite stringed instrument shops run by a brilliant luthier who is also a good friend.

For security reasons my friend asked that I not reveal his name or location because the object in his temporary possession has huge value, both monetary and historical.

So, during our conversation my friend says to me, “I have to show you something incredible”. He brings out a 1940 Gibson ¾ LG-1 guitar that belonged to renowned American folk music icon Woody Guthrie.

My luthier compadre was finishing a small repair on the instrument before sending it on today to The Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, OK (https://woodyguthriecenter.org/).

My picture does not capture the energy and draw of this fascinating guitar.

I get “butterflies” in my stomach even now just thinking about all of the music this guitar has made and the miles it’s traveled.

Woody Guthrie was a force in American music and society. His influence goes way beyond his most famous song, “This Land Is Your Land”. His music and life influenced generations of performers including Bruce Springsteen and Bono. You can learn more here: https://www.woodyguthrie.org/biography/biography1.htm

Not a bad experience for a casual stop in at a friend’s shop! Tomorrow I will reveal the name and location of the shop.

1940 Gibson LG-1 owned by folk singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie.

More than just tornadoes

As the U.S. dives headlong into another severe weather season I think it’s important to note that severe damage can happen in the absence of a tornado.
Just recently a potent weather system on March 25, 2021 led to an outbreak of tornadoes across Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee…some of which were strong to violent. In addition to those tornadoes very strong microburst winds caused damage as well.
In Tennessee a big tornado with a width of 350 yards was on the ground for over 22 miles. It was classified as an EF-3 with estimated winds of 130 mph.
As you can imagine there was quite a bit of damage.
There were also a couple of massive microbursts in East Nashville each on the ground for 40 miles with a damage path 4 miles wide!
These gusts hit 85 mph, which is the equivalent to an EF-0 tornado.

#weather #severeweather #meteorology #meteorologist #expertwitness

Strong storms caused damage in Tennessee March 25, 2021

See? “Weather Is Everything”

It’s worth about $9 Billion a day!

OK, the big container ship was “un-wedged” from the Suez Canal March 29, 2021 after blocking worldwide cargo traffic for 6 days.

The canal handles around 12% of seaborne trade, making it an essential point of passage. Each day of blockage disrupted more than $9 billion worth of goods, according to The Associated Press, citing estimates from Lloyd’s List.

According to published reports, a strong sandstorm caused by winds in excess of 40 mph is a primary culprit in how the massive 400 meter (1312 ft.) Ever Given got turned sideways and wedged into one of the most vital passageways on the planet. The sandstorm occurred around March 23rd, 2021.

It goes to show again what I always say…”Weather Is Everything”.