Tribute to Earth with Haiku Poems

 

EARTH DAY serves to remind us just how incredible and unique our home planet is. From her atmosphere to her rivers, Earth has everything we need to survive.

If we want to make sure future generations can thrive in Earth’s beauty, we must actively protect natural resources, care for other species and always choose to invest in learning more. Frankly, Earth doesn’t need us, but we need Earth, so let’s show her our love (and not just on Earth Day)!

Below: My expressions through 10 Earth haiku poems and photos of places that have left me in awe

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Earth, I love you so

Mountains, rivers, trees and sky

A beauty beyond

 

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Red rock above all

A copper desert sunset

Coyotes will howl

 

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She lives in balance

In conserving momentum,

mass and energy

 

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Vast lands were once lush

Now troubled and in danger

World to protect

 

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Ocean meeting sky

Warm wind gentle and freeing

Breathing sea breeze air

 

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Pillows in the sky

Bringing water to the ground

Freely floating past

 

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Twisted at their base

through their webs of rooted life

Trees, swaying yet firm

 

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Mountains that humble

Even the strong and mighty

A strength to reflect

 

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Water carved canyons

Waves crashing, thunder roaring

Forces of nature
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A place we call home

Free for us to be living

Uniting us all

 

Truly, Tashiana 

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New Zealand’s Incredible Clouds!

Shooting clouds over Mt. Cook (Aoraki)
             Shooting clouds over Mt. Cook (Aoraki)

For the past couple of months, I’ve been working on NSF research with Dr. Brian Billings that I’m very excited to share with you! Thousands of images of incredible New Zealand clouds Brian and I captured are now being used in our cloud stereo photogrammetry research. This work is tied with the DEEPWAVE Mission (several research centers are involved, including NCAR‘s Earth Observing Lab, Naval Research Lab-NRL, and New Zealand’s NIWA). 

DEEPWAVE aims to better understand the dynamics of internal atmospheric gravity waves; how moisture (that condenses into clouds) affects the grav-waves and how the waves affect the atmosphere and climate over a longer time frame (they have a big effect on the atmosphere’s momentum budget).  

The cloud stereo photogrammetry case I chose to focus on (June 13th shooting clouds over the ocean from Kumara Junction) will allow me to study coastal interactions and a possible barrier jet parallel to the West shore of the South Island.  This day provided stunning images that easily became my favorite of them all, as they capture the cumuliform clouds changing above AND the ocean waves moving below! Photos to come…

“Stratus”: Arahura Valley, New Zealand

THE PROCESS:  I shot with one camera (we cleverly call “Stratus”), while Brian shot with the other (“Cumulus”) at least 250 m away.  We first set the cameras on tripods so that we could see one another in the camera view at that distance, then turned each camera 90 degrees in order to capture images parallel to one another.  We tilted the cameras to view as much of the sky as possible. Using synchronized timers, we captured images on a set interval of every 5 or 10 seconds.

After each shoot, we saved our images on DVDs and even created time-lapse videos of the beautiful clouds using ImageJ! The main focus with our stereo photogrammetry is to measure the clouds and changes in them, so I’m now using a MATLAB Camera Calibration Toolbox and GPS measurements to perform calculations.  Using the triangulation measurements and algorithm results, I can determine how high clouds are and even their distance from mountains or other features to better understand and analyze conditions surrounding each day!

Good criteria for shooting:

  1. Clouds between clear and  overcast (with at least some breaks so it’s “scattered enough”); This way, we still have a clear view of the cloud base and cloud tops
  2. Would be nice to overlap with field/flight operations (if weather allows)—to capture images that correspond with NSF/NCAR HIAPER GV (research aircraft) flights and dropsondes AND Hokitika weather balloon launches (to represent upstream conditions for the flight)
  3. Smaller scale atmospheric features resulting from large-scale system—ex. fog forming under a ridge to look at how its form changes over time
  4. Strong cross-mountain winds–the mountains get in the way of the air flow, creating a disturbance that may cause gravity waves to form
  5. If there’s Easterly wind flow, we may see leeside weather phenomena (ex. gravity waves—lenticular “UFO” clouds) because of our location on the West side of mountains.  This would make us on the leeside of the mountain flow where all the action is!

It was quite an adventure scouting out the best locations for what we’re researching.  Many days ran long and late, but I loved it and have learned from it all.  All the while, I was  fortunate to do field work for NCAR on the DEEPWAVE mission and learn from incredible scientists!  I’m now working on stereo photogrammetric analyses for my Senior Thesis.  I presented preliminary results at the August AMS Mountain Meteorology Conference in San Diego and will be presenting more about the June 13th case at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco (December) and the 2015 American Meteorological Society (AMS) Meeting in Phoenix (January)! 

Check out our field mission here, and find details on our first flight here!  @TashianaOsborne for live updates.

Truly,

Tash

First DEEPWAVE Flight

I’m a bit behind on updates in all the excitement going on with DEEPWAVE, plus exploring beautiful New Zealand, but here’s more about our first flight mission and some links to stay involved!

Friday, June 6th, 2014: Hokitika, South Island, New Zealand

Click to view missions!
HIAPER GV Flight Path (4 dropsondes to release-all in the ocean)
Click for more mission plots!
Skew-T plot from 06 UTC Hokitika upsonde. We use these to tell us about the conditions at different levels of the atmosphere!

Today was our first Intensive Observing Period (IOP)! We’ve been watching the weather and tracking Energy Flux (EF) and wind over South Island, NZ. There’s a chance conditions will allow for internal gravity waves over us, so NSF/NCAR’s HIAPER GV research aircraft took off from Christchurch at 6 pm. They’re recording in-flight data and releasing dropsondes from 41,000 ft while we launch upsondes (weather balloons + radiosondes to collect data) from Hokitika!

Click for recent plots
Ceilometer Backscatter plotting above 4*10-9 m-1 sr-1 up to just after 4 pm local time. All the deep red reaching the ground (0 m on the vertical axis) is the rain we had today!

We launched two more upsondes here in Hokitika; one at 06 UTC and another at 09 UTC. The first used a 300 g balloon filled with 43 ft3 Helium, and the second filled with 39 ft3 He, rather than the 200 g balloons (bigger balloons because they reach higher altitudes before bursting = more data for us to use!)

I’m now tracking the 09 UTC upsonde and relaying its upper-air data to the HIAPER GV and the Operation Center in Christchurch. GV just let us know that the first two dropsondes were fastfalls, meaning their parachute didn’t deploy when released.  The exciting news is that gravity waves are now being tracked over the ocean southeast of South Island!  Next dropsonde is set for around 2230 local time.

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Relaying info to HIAPER and Ops Center!

Until then, I’m corresponding with HIAPER GV at least until the 09 UTC balloon reaches 150 mb. HIAPER is set to land back in Christchurch around 3 am and has the two dropsondes to release before then.

06 UTC launch with Jordan Miller
06 UTC launch with Jordan Miller

An overall exciting day for DEEPWAVE New Zealand and my first IOP experience!  (To say I was enthusiastic about today is an understatement–just ask our Project Supervisor Bill Brown, or Brian Billings who kindly brought me dinner while I was glued to the HIAPER GV chat and incoming data…)  

I’m very much looking forward to the days ahead with DEEPWAVE!  View the detailed summary of IOP #1 and future missions here.  If you’d like to stay updated on our experiment, check out our Field Catalog!

Truly,

Tash

 

 

 

Hokitika Downpour

 

Radar from today at 9:05 pm local time (Hokitika, New Zealand). See the rain shadow?! All of the rain’s coming from the windward side of the mountains over to the leeward side. Light Westerly winds, 10 mph at max.

NZ Met Service radar from today at 9:05 pm. See the rain shadow?! Rain’s coming from the windward side (west) of the mountains over to the dry leeward side. Light Westerly winds, 10 mph max.

 

Friday, June 6th, 2014 Hokitika, South Island, New Zealand

We’ve had rain, rain, and more rain that began two nights ago. We recorded a high rainfall rate at one point of 67 mm/hr (2.65 in/hr) mid-afternoon yesterday, but there may have been even higher rates overnight.  It looks like there may be some dry periods in Hokitika tomorrow morning through mid-afternoon, but we’ll get soaked again Sunday–maybe even more than the last couple days!

 

 

 

DEEPWAVE New Zealand!

Friday, June 6th, 2014 Hokitika, South Island, New Zealand

Thanks to NCAR EOL's Bill Brown for training me in! First DEEPWAVE upsonde launch earlier this week

First DEEPWAVE upsonde  launch earlier this week–  Thanks to NCAR EOL’s Bill Brown for training me in!

I’ve travelled all the way to beautiful Hokitika, New Zealand during NZ winter to work on the NSF/NCAR-EOL/Naval Research Lab DEEPWAVE mission.  I’ll be launching daily weather balloons (upsondes) from the Hokitika Airport and forecasting and monitoring days with conditions that may produce internal atmospheric gravity waves.  

These days are called Intensive Observing Periods (IOPs) where we’ll launch additional upsondes, and dropsondes will be released from NSF/NCAR’s HIAPER GV.  The HIAPER research aircraft is now in Christchurch and, on IOP days, will fly over regions where gravity waves are expected.  Data from these flights, upsondes, dropsondes, and various instruments will help us better understand the development of deeply-propagating gravity waves.  I’ll also be working on research involving stereo-photogrammetry with Dr. Brian Billings to provide more information on wave and cloud formation.  I’m thrilled to be part of DEEPWAVE and to be working with such talented individuals!

{Today’s actually a big day for DEEPWAVE New Zealand–our first Intensive Observing Period (IOP) to search for atmospheric gravity waves…Let the hunt begin!  I’ll post an update on the experience.

Truly,

Tash

 

 

Weather Experiments for All!

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Science is meant to be interactive!  That’s exactly why I tried out these three weather experiments with a class of first to fifth graders after teaching them more about severe weather events and safety.  These intelligent and curious students were very engaged and I loved hearing their thoughts on each experiment. (I’ve included some suggestions on what I would change or add to the experiments for the next time!)

 

 

#1 Thunderstorm in a Box (Thunderstorm Development)

Use: shoe-box size clear container, red food coloring, one tray blue-dyed ice cubes, lukewarm water (to fill container)

Set out container filled with lukewarm water and place a blue cold ice cube in one side of container.  Then, drop a couple drops of red food coloring in other side of container.  Add more red drops to examine results.

What it shows:  The water is a fluid, as is air in the atmosphere.   Due to convection, the warm red water representing the warm, unstable air rises, while the cold blue water representing the cold air mass sinks.  The cold air brought in by a cold front forces the warm air to rise.  When the colors mix to create purple, you see a thunderstorm cumulonimbus cloud form with a somewhat-overshooting top.

**This demonstration did not work the best for me because the water was too warm and the ice cubes began melting and spreading throughout the container.  Make sure to add just one ice cube at first, and to use lukewarm water.  I also used two separate containers so the kids wouldn’t have to all crowd around one!

#2 Balloon Hair (Static Electricity)

Use: Balloons

The kids (and teacher-at right) loved this one, and it’s SO simple!  All you need to do is blow up and tie as many balloons as you can.  BE WARNED: It’s helpful to show a quick demo before throwing the balloons out to the crowd of excited kids!

Ask for a volunteer.  Rub the balloon on his or her hair to observe how the hair stands up and attaches to the balloon when you move it slightly away from their head.

What it shows:  When you rub a balloon on the hair, you are putting tiny negative charges all over it.  Because these charges are all the same, the strands of hair attempt to move away from one another rather than join together.  If you move the same balloon (after having been rubbed on hair) near the ceiling, you will see that it becomes attracted to the ceiling and actually sticks to it.  This is because the balloon and the ceiling have opposite charges.  Lightning acts in a similar way, where it is attracted to the ground due to opposite charge.  This is because of static electricity! In dry air, we notice greater effects of static electricity because there are less water particles in the air to help electrons move off of us…so a bigger charge is built up!

#3 Tornado Vortex (Tornado Formation)

Meteorology Presentation 3.13.14 013 (1280x960)Use: drained and rinsed 1-liter bottle of pop, confetti pieces, lukewarm water (to fill bottle), dishwashing liquid

Fill the bottle a little over three-fourths full of water and add in just a couple drops of dishwashing liquid.  The ratio of dishwashing liquid to water  took some experimenting before I went in to the school, so I would suggest testing it out before demonstrating.  I added in confetti pieces to make it a bit more exciting! Glitter, food coloring (only need a couple drops so it’s not too dark to see through), or colored lamp oil (would make the vortex stand out more) are other fun extras you can try adding to your bottle.  Swirl the bottle upside-down bottle in a fast, circular motion so that its contents spin into a vortex.  Keep in mind that tornadoes almost always rotate counterclockwise (cyclonic rotation) in the Northern Hemisphere.

What it shows: Like in an actual tornado, a vortex forms (lucky for us, it’s in a bottle!).  Centripetal force, which directs the water inward toward its circular path, allows the water to spin quickly around the center of the vortex. Wind shear plays a major role in the formation of tornadoes.  The person swirling the bottle is actually the force causing the water (wind) to rotate and create a vortex.  You can even mention the three ingredients needed for a tornado to form: moisture, lift, and, instability!

**I used two separate bottles so all the kids could have a turn.  The sunlight from the window really helped to show the vortex more clearly! You could connect the bottles mouth-to-mouth with duct tape (very tightly wrapped) to see the vortex transfer from one to another, but I’ve seen these make a big mess unless you use a Tornado Tube bottle connector

Have a blast!

Truly,

Tash

Thanks to Meteorologist Crystal Wicker of Weather Wiz Kidz, and meteorology friends Brad Carlberg & Ashley Heath for great advice on fun experiments!

School Weather Fun!

I had the exciting opportunity to talk about severe weather and safety with a class of young scientists!  These elementary-age students were very eager to hear all about hail, floods, winter weather, but especially tornadoes, thunderstorms, tsunamis, and hurricanes.  I absolutely loved seeing how tuned in the kids were to the weather facts and safety tips.  At the end, we did three meteorology-related experiments that really helped make everyone excited and involved.  I have some great photos of many of the kids trying out the experiments for themselves after the demos! (I’ll link my next post to this one so I can share the experiments in detail)

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I really enjoyed sharing what I’ve learned on a topic I’m not only passionate about, but that we all realize is important to understand so we can best prepare our families for severe weather events.  What a wonderful day spent with bright, inquisitive children full of pure energy!!

Input from the Kids:

When the power goes out, what do you do if you have to go to the bathroom?

My three cousins saw a tornado before.

Can hail kill you?

Why does warm air rise above cold air?

Why is it not safe to play in flood water?  How can it make you sick?

You can fill up a bathtub with water before the power goes out.

Can I take home the tornado pop bottle you brought so I can make a plastic penguin? 

Where do you go if there’s a tornado?

Are we gonna make a rainbow?

No wait.. we’re gonna make thunder!

How do hurricanes form, and how do they get stronger?

We’re making electricity like lightning!

Can I take home a balloon?

So if there’s a flood, you do the opposite of what you’d do with a tornado.  You go to high ground instead of low ground!

Will you pleeease come to my birthday party?

Truly,

Tash

Thanks to Meteorologist Crystal Wicker of Weather Wiz Kidzand meteorology friends Brad Carlberg & Ashley Heath for great advice on fun experiments!

Chilly Winter Weekend

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A couple days ago I talked about this chilly Minnesota weekend (12/6-12/8) on our university station with one of our anchors, Elizabeth! In St. Cloud, we were down to -10° at 11pm last night. That’s 21° lower than the normal low temperature for December 6th!! According to the Chanhassen National Weather Service office, we’ll get down to a -15° low overnight and we will likely get 1 to 3 inches of total snow accumulation Sunday.

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Keep in mind those windchill values could get as low as -23° tonight and tomorrow, but as low as -29° is expected for Monday. This is how cold it will feel on bare skin for people and pets. Exposed skin can freeze within 30 minutes with windchill lower than -22°, so BUNDLING UP is advised if you must go outside, otherwise stay warm and dry inside to reduce your exposure and chance for frostbite and hypothermia, which can very quickly become life-threatening. Just don’t forget to keep pets sheltered, too!

Forecast updates (type zip code in left panel)
More information on windchill

Truly,
Tash

Calor y Humedad en los Estados Unidos

Hoy (18 Jueves 2013), el Servicio Meteorológico Nacional ha emitido una alerta sobre las condiciones extremas en el norte y este de los Estados Unidos.  Los estados que verán afectados serán los de North Dakota hasta Massachusetts.  Este aviso de calor es en efecto porque las temperaturas en estas regiones están extremamente altas.

Hace mucho calor en varios estados de los Estados Unidos, especialmente en el nordeste, con temperaturas de sobre 30 grados centígrados

No solo está el calor,  pero también la humedad.  La combinación puede tener un efecto negativo en la salud de los residentes de estas áreas.  Se recomienda que las personas que están trabajando fuera en el sol tomen descansos frecuentes. En Nueva York, la temperatura de 36 grados centígrados, pero, el promedio ha sido solamente 29.  Boston tiene una temperatura de 34 grados centígrados, ocho grados más que el promedio.

Sinceramente,

Tash

From Drought to Flood Threat: U.S. Southern Plains

The National Weather Service has outlined flash flood watches throughout most of central Texas and into areas of the Four Corners. In the next 24 hours, 2 to 4 inches of rain are expected in central Texas, with 1 to 2 inches northeast into the Four Corners region.

Flood watches issued by NWS covering Texas and portions of the Four Corners

This rain will provide relief for SW regions where dry air and high temperatures have been persistent. As of July 9th, 2013, the U.S. Drought Monitor classified these areas as having extreme to exceptional drought conditions. Now, rain here is even expected to become a flood threat.

Not only will these arid regions see moisture, but they are also expected to see cooler temperatures. Average triple-digit temperatures will not likely be seen again until after the storms pass. Rather, highs near 80 degrees are in the forecast through midweek.

1-2 inches of rain are expected in the SW Plains, with up to 6 inches in parts of Texas over the next 2 days

Overall, 1 to 3 inches of rain are expected over these regions, with 4 to 6 possible in some areas. Thunderstorms bringing this downpour will also bring lightning strikes and gusty winds. Flash flooding is a potential threat, especially as rain accumulates more throughout the week and into next week. In the next 7 days, more showers are expected and floods here could become dangers, as they can easily carry debris and cause lowlands to become impassable. Residents of these regions are warned to take precaution in the event of flash flooding, and to avoid afternoon hiking on ridges in order to avoid being struck by lightning.

Truly,

Tash