Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spring Winds

Weather: High winds Wednesday, temperatures in low 20s Friday, snow yesterday, no apple flowers today.

What’s blooming in the area: Lilacs protected by the river’s warmer atmosphere, moss phlox.

Beyond the walls and fences: Alfilerillo, western stickseed, purple and tansy mustards, dandelion.

In my yard: Grape hyacinth, vinca.

What’s blooming inside: Zonal geraniums.

Animal sightings: Small birds, ants.

Weekly update: Wind is invisible. You can photograph snow, and sometimes capture rain. But all you can record with wind is its effect.

It has no name. The King James Bible translates the Hebrew ruah as "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters" in Genesis 2:1. The Roman Catholic translators at Douay College made it "the spirit of God moved over the waters."

Ephraim Speiser says, "spirit" is a secondary meaning. It should read: "an awesome wind sweeping over the water." The Jicarilla Apache were closer when they said "there was no ground, no earth - nothing but Darkness, Water, and Cyclone" in the beginning.

The US Weather Bureau has retreated from any attempt at nomenclature. Ever since people in Phoenix complained when a 2011 dust storm was called a haboob, we’ve had "wind events."

Todd Shoemake at least admits we have more strong winds in the spring. He looked over the records for Albuquerque and found most of theirs come from the east. Those have a name: canyon winds.

He noted Santa Fé’s strongest winds come in February and March between 5 pm and midnight. But, they have no name.

Something with no name demands no explanation. Wind is the movement of air passing from a high pressure area to a low. When the earth becomes warmer than the atmosphere above, breezes mark the rise of heated air and its replacement with cold.

This happens every day as the sun heats the earth. That’s why winds begin in the afternoon and die down in the evening.  The weather service calls this mixing and talks about vent rates. When you have good mixing you have wind. When vent rates are bad, noxious gases don’t escape in the night and air is foul.

Scientists from Germany and India have found the spring equinox is the critical factor in 27-month cycles controlled by the alternation of east and west winds at the equator. The equinox marks the time when the earth is aligned directly with the center of the sun and the sun is directly over the equator.

Until that time, the part of the earth near the equator has been warming while parts nearer the poles have remained cold. The critical area is the atmospheric layer some 53 miles above the earth, the thermosphere. The lag is warming creates disparities that must be equalized.

Last year the winds started around February 19 and lasted until the end of June. This year afternoon temperatures were in the low 60s the first of March, the high 60s by March 22, and the low 70s by March 28. The winds didn’t begin until the second of April when they reached 41 mph in Santa Fé.

We’re in the off year in the two year cycle. Don’t expect scientists to give these spring winds a name like Mariah. They call them MSEE for Mesospheric Spring Equinox Enhancements.

Douay College. The Holy Bible, Holy Family edition of the Catholic Bible, Old Testament in the Douay-Calloner text, edited by John P. O’Connell, 1950. Sons of the Holy Family are responsible for the churches in Santa Cruz and Chimayó. Genesis 1:2.

James I. The Holy Bible, conformable to that edition of 1611, commonly known as the authorized or King James version, The World Publishing Company, nd. Genesis 1:2.

Kumar, G. Kishore, K. Kishore Kumar, W. Singer, C. Zülicke, S. Gurubaran, G. Baumgarten, G. Ramkumar, S. Sathishkumar, and M. Rapp. "Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere Zonal Wind Variations over Low Latitudes: Relation to Local Stratospheric Zonal Winds and Global Circulation Anomalies," Journal of Geophysical Research 119:5913–5927:2014.

Opler, Morris Edward. Myths and Tales of the Jicarilla Apache Indians, 1938. His sources were Cevero Caramillo, John Chopari, Alasco Tisnado, and Juan Julian.

Shoemake, Todd. "A Climatology of High Wind Warning Events for Northern and Central New Mexico: 1976-2005," 2010, available on-line. Albuquerque also has west winds, but they aren’t as significant.

Speiser, E. A. Genesis, 1964.

Photographs: Trees taken in my yard during summer winds; others taken in area during normal winds about 15 mph on 17 April 2015.

1. Globe willow, 24 July 2013.

2. Black locust, 28 June 2012.

3. Miniature windmill.

4. Even miniatures need to be well-anchored.

5. This one might even serve a function.

6. This is a replacements for one blown apart.

7. The stand on the older one is used to hold hoses.

No comments: