Lunar Eclipse April 4

This Saturday morning’s total lunar eclipse (visible here only as a partial eclipse as it sets early Saturday morning) will be the shortest duration total lunar eclipse all century. Totality will last only 5 minutes, but totality will only be seen in the western United states and the Pacific territories. The weather is n0t looking particularly clear here in Ohio. Stay tuned to local forecasts for updates as we approach Saturday morning.

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Posted in Science News by André Bernier. Comments Off

Climate And Extremes

“Scientists at ETH Zurich and the California Institute of Technology have shown that global warming actually tends to reduce temperature variability.”

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Study shows that weather extremes should become rare, not increase as climate catastrophists claim. Read the complete story here (and bookmark this website for excellent posts on the state of our planet’s climate).

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Why So Stubborn?

I received a wonderful question from someone who posted this question on my Facebook Fan Page:

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Signs Of Spring

I’ve had many people calling me and asking if seeing woollybear caterpillars in March is “normal” after such a harsh winter. The answer is yes, it is perfectly normal. Because of a type of alcohol in their blood, woollybears don’t freeze, but they do curl up in a cozy nook to sleep during the harsh winter months when there is no food available.

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Once spring arrives, they start to move around looking for newly emerging leaves to eat before they spin a cocoon to become an Isabella tiger moth.

Another harbinger of spring is the flow of the maple sap. While it has started late this season, the tubing, sap bags, and sap pails are now showing up all over the sugarbush (a collection of maple trees) in northeast Ohio.

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And finally (and arguably the prettiest) indicator of spring’s arrival are the crocuses (or croci) starting to pop up above the ground. My wife sent me this photo today (March 19).

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The astronomical arrival of spring (vernal equinox) is 6:45 PM on Friday, March 20.

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Sunrise-Sunset Equality

On Tuesday, the sunrise is at 7:36 AM and the sunset is at 7:36 PM.

But wait.

Isn’t the equinox (equal day/equal night aka first day of spring) on Friday? Why aren’t the sunrise and sunset times the same on that day?

The answer lies with the two main factors that cause this “time shift.” First is that our atmosphere acts like a lens to bend the sunlight such that we actually see it before it rises above the horizon.

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Second, the sunrise and sunset times are calculated for the very tip of the solar limb and not the very center of the solar disc. It takes about a minute extra for the center of the sun to become visible.

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When you add the two, the length of day on the equinoxes is several minutes longer that night time.

What would “correct” the situation? You would need to first remove the Earth’s atmosphere in total. Not a very good plan of action if you ask me (as if any man could do this). You would also need to either shrink the sun so that it looks like a pinpoint of light OR you would need to move the Earth so far away from the sun so that the sun appeared as a pinpoint of light. Both options would also not be very desirable, LOL. Talk about global cooling.

OK, let’s talk about cooling… but one a bit easier to take. After reaching highs in the 60s on Monday, the cooler air arrives just before sunrise across the northern counties. The map below is the forecast temperature for midnight Tuesday.

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Followed by 6 AM Tuesday.

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Despite Monday’s high of 61°F in Cleveland and 64°F at Akron-Canton Airport, we are still in a generally cool pattern. The long range map shows our winter pattern holding over well into April.

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Posted in Science News Weather by André Bernier. Comments Off