More rain. Just what I like to see. I haven’t caught to much flak for being positive about the rain….yet. I suppose if the Spring continues to be colder than normal with more cloudy days than sunny days, then people will start to complain. So far, the rain is beneficial (putting a small dent in the severe drought). We are certainly no where near the point where we would have to worry about flooding or delayed planting of crops. Today’s rainfall (.25 to .50 inches) should put us above normal for the month of March. Time to celebrate! Normal precipitation for March is 1.92 inches and we should end up around 2.25 inches. Rainy windy weather of course means that March is going out like a lion. Did it come in like a lamb? Not really. March 1st was a sunny day with not much wind, but the high temperature was only 16. It is hard to say any day was a “lamb” when the high temperature is only 16.
High temps today should reach the upper 30s, which means the sleet and snow during the morning should turn over to light rain in the afternoon. Temps will be cool enough in the Northwoods for some of the mixed precipitation too hang on a bit longer and therefore a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY will continue for areas north of Marathon county through early evening. All forms of precipitation will become much lighter tonight but will not come to a complete end until Wednesday night. Cool weather will persist through Thursday, then we will have a brief warm-up into the 40s on Friday and Saturday before another storm moves into the Midwest for Sunday and Monday. This next storm system could produce heavy rain and snow in parts of Wisconsin. I know, no one wants to here the word snow in April, but it is certainly not unprecedented. There is an old saying that it has to snow twice on the tulips before winter is completely over, which means we will typically have two different snow events in April – in Wisconsin. Overall, cooler than normal weather will probably hang on until the middle of April. No 60 degree weather anytime soon.
At least we are not in the same boat as North and South Dakota. They have received their second blizzard in the last week. Here is a photo of the Bismarck area taken by a relative of Connie Bryant. They had over 10 inches of snow yesterday.
Alternative Energy News:
I have been following the electric car industry for a couple of years now and a big event just crossed the wires yesterday. Tesla has revealed its all electric sedan. Here is the good news: while the Tesla Roadster costs a bit over $100,000, the basic model Tesla sedan (Model S) will retail for $57,000 – or so it is planned. Factor in a $7,500 rebate from the government and you might be able to purchase the Model S for just under $50,000 – that is of course assuming the U.S. government does not go bankrupt before the it rolls off the assembly line. Therein lies the bad news. It is not scheduled for sale until 2011. Darn. The interesting thing about the price is that it is not much more than the rumored proposed price of the Chevy Volt – about $45,000. Why buy a Volt when you can get more performance, better styling, and longer range with the Model S while only paying a few thousand more?
In other news, it looks like Mazda will not be developing their own hybrid vehicle, because they don’t have the cash needed to invest in a whole new model right now. Still they do plan on increasing efficiency by making their cars lighter and developing better engines and transmissions. Nissan on the other hand has pushed their plans for an all electric vehicle up by two years. Looks like they are on a schedule to sell an EV around the same time Tesla rolls out the Model S (2011).
In solar news - the world’s third (large) solar thermal power plant is being built in China. Every year more megawatts are being generated by solar and wind power. Even through the economic downturn, the solar business is hanging on. With every new development of alternative energy the apocalyptic warnings of AGW theorists grows a little less frightening. Like I have mentioned in the past, our energy situation is changing. It is extremely unlikely that we will continue on a “business as usual” course with fossil fuels for the next 91 years. The “business as usual” projection is used to create all the forecasts of extreme warming and devastation of the earth through 2100.
Solar thermal technology could also be used to desalinate water – helping to alleviate problems caused by the lack of fresh water. A test facility is being built in Australia to find out how efficient solar thermal is with regards to desalinating water. They could use this type of technology in California, where population growth is causing a shortage of fresh water. China is also experiencing some bad water shortages. In order to store desalinated water (or other fresh water) maybe they could use hydrophobic (waterproof) sand.This is a new nanotech product that could be used in many ways. In the Middle East they are going to experiment with growing rice. Now that would be an accomplishment – growing rice in the desert. The idea is to line the bottom of cultivated land with the waterproof sand to prevent seepage. I am sure it will have to undergo some extensive testing first because the sand is a slightly unnatural product. Some natural sand particles are hydrophobic, but not to the extent that this one is.
Then again maybe you could go without sand altogehter and grow your vegetables in gravel. That is what farmer Sergio Roque Monteiro of Cape Verde is doing. It is a version of hydroponic farming that uses a recycled stream of water with nutrients to keep the plants growing. He claims to use less water and get better vegetables with this method. Check it out.
Have a good Tuesday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.
Posted under AGW, Alternative Energy, Drought, Spring, Winter Weather
This post was written by jloew on March 31, 2009