2 Days Left GLOBE Surface Temperature Field Campaign

With two days left in the GLOBE Surface Temperature Field Campaign, winter has really taken hold of the Great Lakes region as well as large parts of Europe and Asia. Through this blog, I want to take a look at some of the changes that have occurred and reflect on how that has affected the temperatures students have observed. December has been cold in Toledo, Ohio. We have averaged 25 Fahrenheit (-4 C) while the average based on weather from 1961 to 1990 is 29 F (-1.7 C).

Change in snow cover

As you can see in the figures below, the snow cover has changed quite a bit in both North America and Europe/Asia between November 30, 2010 and December 15, 2010. On November 30, much of the Western US was covered with snow while most of the east was not as well as the southern part of the Great Lakes. Then, by December 15, the storms coming across the US have filled in quite a bit of snow going down to norther Georgia and Alabama. Snow at lower elevations has melted in the western US by December 15. In Europe Great Britain and France had more snow on November 30 than December 15 while areas such as Turkey and the middle of China saw significant snowfall.
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Change in ice cover on the Ottawa River
This is the soonest that ice has covered the Ottawa River. You may be able to tell that there is still open water under the bridge. I don’t know why that is there. I’m guessing that there is a source of warm water coming into the river from somewhere.

The GLOBE Surface Temperature Field Campaign is progressing nicely. 37 schools have entered data so far with 480 observations.

Roswell Kent Middle School, Akron, OH, US [31 rows]
III Liceum A. Mickiewicza and Gimnazjum No. 47, Bydgoszcz, PL, PL [10 rows]
Ohio Hi Point Career Center, Bellefontaine, OH, US [4 rows]
The Morton Arboretum Youth Education Dept., Lisle, IL, US
Shafi’i Secondary School, Rejal Alma-a, SA [2 rows]
River Hill High School, Clarksville, MD, US [9 rows]
Peebles High School, Peebles, OH, US [82 rows]
Gimnazjum No 7 Jana III Sobieskiego, Rzeszow, PL, PL [19 rows]
Burlington County Institute Of Technology, Medford, NJ, US [8 rows]
Brazil High, Brazil Village, TT, TT [15 rows]
Hersom Homeschool, Gerrardstown, WV, US
Kilingi-Nomme Gymnasium, Parnumaa, 67, EE [24 rows]
Swift Creek Middle School, Tallahassee, FL, US [11 rows]
National Presbyterian School, Washington, DC, US [15 rows]
West Union Elementary School, West Union, OH, US [2 rows]
Westerville North, Westerville City, OH, US [20 rows]
Deer Park Middle Magnet School, Randallstown, MD, US [13 rows]
Severn School, Severna Park, MD, US [4 rows]
Huntington High School, Huntington, WV, US [2 rows]
Lima High School, Lima, OH, US [4 rows]
Lakewood Catholic Academy, Lakewood, OH, US [34 rows]
Musselman High School, Inwood, WV, US [7 rows]
Bellefontaine High School, Bellefontaine, OH, US [17 rows]
Ida Middle School, Ida, MI, US [14 rows]
McTigue Middle School, Toledo, OH, US [7 rows]
Taaksi Basic School, Viljandi, EE [4 rows]
Highlands Elementary School, Naperville, IL, US [3 rows]
South Suburban Montessori School, Brecksville, OH, US [6 rows]
Birchwood School, Cleveland, OH, US [11 rows]
Eastwood Middle School, Pemberville, OH, US [14 rows]
Lial Catholic School, Whitehouse, OH, US [13 rows]
McDonogh School, Owings Mills, MD, US [8 rows]
Estes Park High School, Estes Park, CO, US
The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH, US [8 rows]
Dassel-Cokato Middle School, Cokato, MN, US [9 rows]
Main Street School, Norwalk, OH, US [24 rows]
Monroe High School, Monroe, MI, US [23 rows]

SNOW DAY!

Today the kids have a snow day from school. I was planning on working from home grading anyway, so it isn’t such a big deal. We didn’t get a lot of snow in the Toledo area. It rained and then snowed on top and then everything froze yesterday. Then, we got another 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) on top of that that then blew into drifts because of the strong winds.

Some of you may have a snow day today as well. This storm covered a large area. Today, Monday, December 14, there is a lot of blowing snow and also some strong lake effect snow coming off of Lake Michigan into Indiana, off Lake Erie near Cleveland and north of Buffalo, New York off of Lake Ontario.
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Mike Hedley who works with me with teachers and the GLOBE program tells a story about her students when she taught at Central Catholic High School in Toledo, Ohio. The students were taking observations each day for the GLOBE surface temperature field campaign. One day, school was closed for a snow day. The students went to school anyway and got a janitor to let them into Mrs. Hedley’s classroom so they could get their infrared thermometer and take their observations for the day. Now, that is dedication!

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Our dog Tifla (means little girl in Maltese) out in the road. You can’t really tell too well but the drift is about 12 inches (30 cm) deep just to the right of her. The wind chill was pretty brutal in the road. Tifla turned around and ran right to the house.

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Snow blowing across our road in front of my house.
Dr. C

Forecast Models Can Have Errors

Hi All,
On Tuesday I posted that there will be two storms. 1. an Alberta Clipper that could give the Great Lakes 1-2 inches and 2. a storms coming out of the Gulf of Mexico that could be a big snow maker. The Alberta Clipper varified. We got about an inch of snow in Toledo, Ohio, our first inch of the year if I remember correctly. But, the models have changed the second storm quite a bit. It is now expected to track across the northern plains and will most likely produce a cold rain in Toledo, yuck. Very cold air is still forecast to come in behind this storm. It is possible that the precipitaiton will turn to snow once the cold air starts coming in. It isn’t quite that straight forward. It never is I guess. There is a secondary low that is to the south of the main one that is forecast to strengthen. This one could tap into moisture in the Atlantic and spin back snow in the Great Lakes. I made the mistake that many meteorologists make. I got excited about the possibility of a big snowstorm and forgot that it is just a forecast. The models do not always handle the storms well.

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Schools in GLOBE Surface Temperature Field Campaign
We are finishing up the second week of the surface temperature field campaign. Things are in high gear. There is plenty of snow to go around to test out how snow affects the surface temperature. We are up to 350 observations from 32 schools. Keep up the good work.
Roswell Kent Middle School, Akron, OH, US [31 rows]
Liceum A. Mickiewicza and Gimnazjum No. 47, Bydgoszcz, PL, PL [10 rows]
Ohio Hi Point Career Center, Bellefontaine, OH, US [4 rows]
Peebles High School, Peebles, OH, US [65 rows]
Gimnazjum No 7 Jana III Sobieskiego, Rzeszow, PL, PL [7 rows]
Burlington County Institute Of Technology, Medford, NJ, US [6 rows]
Brazil High, Brazil Village, TT, TT [15 rows]
Hersom Homeschool, Gerrardstown, WV, US
Kilingi-Nomme Gymnasium, Parnumaa, 67, EE [20 rows]
Swift Creek Middle School, Tallahassee, FL, US [11 rows]
National Presbyterian School, Washington, DC, US [8 rows]
Union Elementary School, West Union, OH, US [2 rows]
Westerville North, Westerville City, OH, US [2 rows]
Severn School, Severna Park, MD, US
Huntington High School, Huntington, WV, US [2 rows]
Lakewood Catholic Academy, Lakewood, OH, US [22 rows]
Musselman High School, Inwood, WV, US [5 rows]
Bellefontaine High School, Bellefontaine, OH, US [11 rows]
Ida Middle School, Ida, MI, US [14 rows]
McTigue Middle School, Toledo, OH, US [6 rows]
Taaksi Basic School, Viljandi, EE [4 rows]
Highlands Elementary School, Naperville, IL, US [3 rows]
South Suburban Montessori School, Brecksville, OH, US [6 rows]
Birchwood School, Cleveland, OH, US [11 rows]
Eastwood Middle School, Pemberville, OH, US [13 rows]
Lial Catholic School, Whitehouse, OH, US [10 rows]
McDonogh School, Owings Mills, MD, US [8 rows]
Estes Park High School, Estes Park, CO, US
The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH, US [8 rows]
Dassel-Cokato Middle School, Cokato, MN, US [7 rows]
Main Street School, Norwalk, OH, US [20 rows]
Monroe High School, Monroe, MI, US [16 rows]

Peebles High School has 65 observations. Will anybody catch them.
Hi want to say hi to Mr. Russell at Monroe High School in Monroe, Michigan, Mrs. Sparboe from Dassel-Cokato Middle School in Minnesota. She made the trek from Minnesota to Toledo to participate in the SATELLITES workshop this past summer. I want to say hi to Mrs. Stough from Eastwood Middle School, Pemberville, Ohio and Mrs. Brown from the Birchwood School in Cleveland. Hi Mrs. White, South Suburban Montessori School, Brecksville, Ohio. You guys got dumped on the other day, 261 mm at one location (26.1 cm or 14 inches of snow). I’m jealous.

With the inch of snow we got in Toledo today, I had to break out my boots.
Keep an eye on the storm this weekend. I’ll post something on Monday about it.
Dr. C

Data from Maryland

Here is an email from Martin Schmidt from McDonogh School, Owings Mills, Maryland. He has helped a couple years with the SATELLITES teacher training during the summer.

“I did some surface temperature data collection at my school – have you
done some yet? :-) It will be great if you can add to the current
campaign of collecting data.

Just to see how it would turn out, my students and I collected data at
four different times on Friday December 3. A graph of the temperature
averages is attached. Though it was generally overcast and cold, the 2
surfaces behaved somewhat as we would expect: the asphalt got warmer than
the grass and changed temperature a slightly larger amount than the grass.
We would also expect the asphalt to heat up/change temperature faster
than grass, and that kinda happened but our data doesn’t show this as well
because the rates of change between the first and second data points for
both surfaces are similar. The second data point for the grass is the one
“out of place” (high) compared to expectations, but the average does
reflect generally consistent temperature measurements for the 9 readings
taken then. The 2 locations are fairly close to each other, so it’s
unlikely the grass was in the sun while the asphalt wasn’t. Was something
off about the infrared thermometer (it was in the glove, as it was for all
measurements)? As can happen, collecting data can raise new questions and
the only way to answer them is to try again and look for patterns. We
will have to try again when we can – that’s what science investigations
are all about.

Good luck with your surface temperature measurements and thanks for your
participation.

- Martin
Martin Schmidt, McDonogh School, Owings Mills, MD”

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Peebles High School, Peebles, Ohio
The students at Peebles High School have taken 49 observations so far and are the school with the most. I have plotted their data below comparing the grass temperatures to the asphault temperatures. On average, grass is 1.75 C while the asphault is 2.74 C. If you look at the graph, I put a 1-to-1 line. When values are above the 1-to-1 line, that means that asphault is warmer and if it below the 1-to-1 line, grass is warmer. What is interesting is that for the warm temperatures, the asphault is quite a bit warmer than the grass. But, when it is cold, the grass is a little warmer than the asphault.

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Day 7, Brrrrr

Here it is day 7 of the GLOBE Surface Temperature Field Campaign. The high temperatures have been right around freezing here in Toledo, Ohio since December 1. The Ottawa River that runs through the University of Toledo campus is starting to freeze. I saw some ponds that were getting ice covered. My frost tube froze in the ground as well. There was some water in the outer tube and it froze. I’m not sure why the water was in there since we had quite a dry fall. If you want to learn more about the frost tube protocol, go to the Seasons and Biomes project of GLOBE. Also, you can watch videos of Tunnel Man, Kenji Yoshikawa. I wonder what type of superhero should I be?

http://globe.gov/science/topics/seasons-biomes#Overview

http://ine.uaf.edu/werc/projects/permafrost/

The next time it may snow in Toledo, Ohio is Friday when an Alberta Clipper comes down out of Canada. Then, on Sunday there is a storm coming up the east coast that could give us a significant snowfall. We’ll see. The forecast models were predicting this storm 7 days out. That is a really long time to have an accurate forecast. But, it could happen.

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I took obs before the cold front on Monday and the grass was warmer than the cement. The cement hadn’t yet warmed up. Now, that it has been cold for a week, the cement is warmer. The surface temperature for the grass has been right around 0 C while the cement is at about 4 C. If we had snow here, it would be quite a bit colder I suspect.

Field Campaign Data
There are 241 observations now from 27 schools. Keep up the good work.
Roswell Kent Middle School, Akron, OH, US [30 rows]
III Liceum A. Mickiewicza and Gimnazjum No. 47, Bydgoszcz, PL, PL [10 rows]
Ohio Hi Point Career Center, Bellefontaine, OH, US [2 rows]
Peebles High School, Peebles, OH, US [41 rows]
Gimnazjum No 7 Jana III Sobieskiego, Rzeszow, PL, PL [7 rows]
Burlington County Institute Of Technology, Medford, NJ, US [5 rows]
Brazil High, Brazil Village, TT, TT [6 rows]
Hersom Homeschool, Gerrardstown, WV, US
Kilingi-Nomme Gymnasium, Parnumaa, 67, EE [18 rows]
Swift Creek Middle School, Tallahassee, FL, US [2 rows]
National Presbyterian School, Washington, DC, US [8 rows]
West Union Elementary School, West Union, OH, US [2 rows]
Severn School, Severna Park, MD, US
Lakewood Catholic Academy, Lakewood, OH, US [16 rows]
Musselman High School, Inwood, WV, US [3 rows]
Bellefontaine High School, Bellefontaine, OH, US [8 rows]
Ida Middle School, Ida, MI, US [14 rows]
McTigue Middle School, Toledo, OH, US [4 rows]
Highlands Elementary School, Naperville, IL, US [2 rows]
Birchwood School, Cleveland, OH, US [9 rows]
Eastwood Middle School, Pemberville, OH, US [9 rows]
Lial Catholic School, Whitehouse, OH, US [6 rows]
McDonogh School, Owings Mills, MD, US [8 rows]
Estes Park High School, Estes Park, CO, US
The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH, US [4 rows]
Main Street School, Norwalk, OH, US [16 rows]
Monroe High School, Monroe, MI, US [8 rows]

Roswell-Kent Middle School has the most observations with 30. They usually do. Main Street School in Norwalk, Ohio and Ida Middle School in Ida, Michigan are not too far behind with 16 and 14 observations respectively.

Cold Start to Winter

As you can tell, the eastern US has had a cold start to the meteorological winter. Along with that, snow cover has become more extensive. I’m still hoping for some snow in Toledo. We might get some from this lake effect snow that started today and will continue until Tuesday. But, Toledo is a long way from the lakes so I’m not holding my breath. My prediction of a significant lake effect snow event southeast of the lakes for the start of this week is coming true. 2-3 feet of snow is predicted for areas near Erie, PA. A lot more area of the Great Lakes will get snow from this event than the last one that gave the Buffalo area so much snow. Just a comment, this weather pattern is more like January than the beginning of December.

Visit to Ida Middle and Elementary Schools on Friday.
On Friday I visited Mr. Sinclair’s eighth grade science class. We went outside and took surface temperatures. We broke the students into six groups because I brought six infrared thermometers. There wasn’t any snow on the ground but there was some ice. Three of the groups took observations on the softball field and three groups took observations in the grass nearby.
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Snow Cover
As you can see, snow coverage in the eastern US has increased over the last week. Seems like everyone has snow except Toledo, Ohio, where I work (The University of Toledo). There could be an Alberta clipper come out of Canada Thursday which would produce between 1-3 inches (2.5 to 7.5 cm) of snow. Then, there is a possibility of a Nor’easter which is a really strong snowstorm along the east coast of the US. Europe also stays under the cold and snow storms as well.

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Day 5 Lake Effect Snow Summary

December 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Dr. C's Blog, SATELLITES Conference 2009

We finished our first week of the GLOBE Surface Temperature Field Campaign. So far there have been 191 observations from 24 schools from the US, Poland, Trinidad and Tobago and Estonia. In the US, students from Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Washington, DC, Florida and Colorado have entered data. If you have not entered your data yet, please do so soon so I can look it over. With that many observations it is amazing that there is not a single entry in degrees Fahrenheit instead of Celsius and it looks like all of the universal times are correct. In the past, up to 17% of observations had the incorrect universal time.

Roswell Kent Middle School, Akron, OH, US [30 rows]
III Liceum A. Mickiewicza and Gimnazjum No. 47, Bydgoszcz, PL, PL [10 rows]
Ohio Hi Point Career Center, Bellefontaine, OH, US [2 rows]
Peebles High School, Peebles, OH, US [33 rows]
Gimnazjum No 7 Jana III Sobieskiego, Rzeszow, PL, PL [7 rows]
Burlington County Institute Of Technology, Medford, NJ, US [4 rows]
Brazil High, Brazil Village, TT, TT [3 rows]
Hersom Homeschool, Gerrardstown, WV, US
Kilingi-Nomme Gymnasium, Parnumaa, 67, EE [18 rows]
Swift Creek Middle School, Tallahassee, FL, US [2 rows]
National Presbyterian School, Washington, DC, US [8 rows]
West Union Elementary School, West Union, OH, US [2 rows]
Lakewood Catholic Academy, Lakewood, OH, US [10 rows]
Musselman High School, Inwood, WV, US [3 rows]
Bellefontaine High School, Bellefontaine, OH, US [6 rows]
Ida Middle School, Ida, MI, US [14 rows]
McTigue Middle School, Toledo, OH, US [3 rows]
Highlands Elementary School, Naperville, IL, US [2 rows]
Eastwood Middle School, Pemberville, OH, US [9 rows]
Catholic School, Whitehouse, OH, US [4 rows]
Estes Park High School, Estes Park, CO, US
The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH, US [2 rows]
Main Street School, Norwalk, OH, US [13 rows]
Monroe High School, Monroe, MI, US [4 rows]

Lake Effect Snow
This is a radar image from the Buffalo, New York radar showing the lake effect plume that came off of Lake Erie from Wednesday to Friday, Dec. 1-3, 2010. I saved the image from the Weater Underground http://wunderground.com. Notice how the radar echos are coming from Lake Erie right into the Buffalo area.
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The storm resulted in an accident that led to people being stranded in their cars and trucks on the thruway for many hours, many over night. The snow fell so fast that the cars and trucks that were stopped could not move after the accident was cleared. There are articles about the incident here:

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2010/12/update_drivers_still_stranded.html

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From: David Duprey / The Associated Press

The image that I made below shows how the wind on Wedesday blew the length of Lake Erie and produced up to 32 inches (80 cm) of snow. Then, over the weekend, the wind will be more from the northwest. The fetch, that is the time that the wind blows over Lake Erie, will be a lot lower. So,that should produce less lake effect snow in the downwind areas. This time the wind will be blowing towards Ashtabula, Ohio. This might produce less snow. However, the wind will be blowing over Lake Huron before it gets to Lake Erie. This upwind connection could mean that Ashtabula will get a significant lake effect storm. When I am writing this posting, the National Weather Service has not listed any winter weather advisories for Ashtabula. We’ll see if that changes.
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What about Toledo? Well, there is a system coming out of Canada this weekend but it very well may track to the south of Toledo. Places like Cincinatti, Ohio may get some snow as well as areas of Kentucky and Virginia.
Dr. C

Day 4 Surface Temperature Field Campaign

We have had 20 schools so far enter data for the surface temperature field campaign.
Roswell Kent Middle School, Akron, OH, US [30 rows]
III Liceum A. Mickiewicza and Gimnazjum No. 47, Bydgoszcz, PL, PL [10 rows]
Ohio Hi Point Career Center, Bellefontaine, OH, US
Peebles High School, Peebles, OH, US [25 rows]
Gimnazjum No 7 Jana III Sobieskiego, Rzeszow, PL, PL [7 rows]
Burlington County Institute Of Technology, Medford, NJ, US [3 rows]
Brazil High, Brazil Village, TT, TT [3 rows]
Hersom Homeschool, Gerrardstown, WV, US
Kilingi-Nomme Gymnasium, Parnumaa, 67, EE [16 rows]
Swift Creek Middle School, Tallahassee, FL, US [2 rows]
National Presbyterian School, Washington, DC, US [3 rows]
West Union Elementary School, West Union, OH, US [2 rows]
Lakewood Catholic Academy, Lakewood, OH, US [8 rows]
Musselman High School, Inwood, WV, US [2 rows]
Bellefontaine High School, Bellefontaine, OH, US [4 rows]
McTigue Middle School, Toledo, OH, US [2 rows]
Highlands Elementary School, Naperville, IL, US
Lial Catholic School, Whitehouse, OH, US [2 rows]
The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH, US [2 rows]
Main Street School, Norwalk, OH, US [9 rows]

Tomorrow, I’ll be visiting Ida Middle School and Ida Elementary school and working with the students there. That will be one more school.
It is nice to see some more returning schools. Mr. Lopatka and Mrs. Kouri from Naperville, IL. Greg, my hockey team lost tonight although not too badly. Hi Mrs. Chirico (Lial Catholic School. Great to see your first data entry. Great to see your observations too Mr. Versele (Bellefontaine High School).

Seasonal Pictures
Through the GLOBE program we meet a lot of people. One person I met was Markus from Switzerland. About two years ago he asked people in GLOBE if they wanted to participate in a seasons project that he was starting. He asked people take pictures of their area once a month and submit them to him. Then, he was going to post it on the internet for others to see.

I had already started to take pictures of the Ottawa River on the University of Toledo campus to observe ice cover for GLOBE’s Seasons and Biomes program. In the picture, you may notice a little snow on the banks of the river. It snowed a trace today. A cold front went by and the cold air was squeezing the moisture out of the air.

Markus is a great guy. He sends a reminder to us to submit your pictures every month. And, he has sent Swiss chocolate. That was yummy. He even took the 12 months of pictures that I provided and made post cards. They are great.
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Lake Effect Snow
The cold air the spilled into the Great Lakes region produced a very strong plume of lake effect snow off of Lake Erie. The wind has been aligned the length of Lake Erie so the air is spending the maximum amount of time over the lake. That focused the heaviest snowfall south of Buffalo, NY. Snowfall rates of 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) per hour occurred with lightning. I think someone should make a movie called “Lake Effect.” I’ll write more about the lake effect snow tomorrow. Since we are going to be in a cold pattern in the Great Lakes for the next week, there should be plenty of lake effect snow to go around.

Dr. C