Skip to main content

The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note of any observations you have made of the world around you.  Rain, sun, wind...insects, birds, flowers...meteorites, rocks...seasonal changes...all are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
February 6, 2014

During the past week in the maritime Pacific Northwest, a cold weather system has slid onto the area, blown here from inland Canada by north winds. We get these now and again in winter as brief chilly interludes in our usually mild climate. This one has lasted long enough for the humidity to plunge, so what was frosty earlier is now frozen and dry. The red Cotoneaster berries in my backyard changed from plump lightly frosted bunches into small frozen nuggets on the ground. Nevertheless, still very popular with the winter Robins.

robin berry 1
tem feb
As you can see in the weather data (graph above) for the last week, our temps have dropped well below normal (see red line). At the beginning of the week the dew point, the temperature at which water condenses, was above the air temperature, so it did, and froze onto everything. here are some pics from my frosty neighborhood.

(All photos by me. In Lightbox...click to enlarge)

Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum), native fern

Viburnum, evergreen shrub. Non-native, but very popular with butterflies & bees in summer, and birds in winter.

more....


Dewberry (Rubus ursinus), native blackberry, trailing vine

last year's Bedstraw and Cattail

last year's Bedstraw fruit (Galium aparine), native herb

last year's Comfrey

Comfrey leaves

Evergreen Blackberry (non-native and invasive, but the fruit is very popular!)

spent Sword Fern frond

                                                            ~

As the days passed, it got colder. Standing water began to freeze in cool patterns.



                                                             ~

As this cold air mass remains in the area, the air gets dryer than we usually see it in this seaside climate. Cold air can't hold as much moisture. The dew point (see the green line in the graph above) has fallen into the single digits, meaning it would have to get much much colder for that little moisture to condense out and freeze. So we aren't getting frost. Instead, the moisture in the soil and tender vegetation is freezing solid. There's no official or standard definition for it, but these conditions - below 28ºF or 25ºF for 4 or 6 or 8 hours - would be considered a "hard freeze" (to be distinguished from a "deep freeze" which has an even looser definition, depending on the area, eg. below -20ºF in Minnesota or below 40ºF in Florida, lol).

Now ice crystallizes and expands, pushing up the dirt, an effect known as "frost heave."

frost heave

frost-heave in the driveway

cold fern 2/6
Truck Fern frozen and drooping, rocks in the ground embedded in frost-heaved dirt

                                                             ~

The wildlife in the moderate maritime Northwest has it far far easier than in much of the country, but even here, when it gets cold like this, they need shelter, water and food. I bring my hummingbird feeder in at night, and switch out the fluid during the day if ice begins to form at the top. Ar first light I put out the feeders. The flock of Robins in my backyard are chowing down on the Cotoneaster and Viburnum berries.

annas

Anna's hummingbird today

robin berry
Robin munching on Cotoneaster berries

                                                             ~

What's the water like outside where you live today? What's going on in nature on this winter's day in your backyard?

And -



"Green Diary Rescue" is Back!

"Green Diary Rescue" will be posted every Saturday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on the Daily Kos front page.  Be sure to recommend and comment in the diary.

WEATHER UPDATE: 9 pm, Feb 7

Since I queued this Bucket 24 hours ago, we had a shift in wind, with southerly breezy conditions sweeping in some damper air this morning. The dew point rose dramatically to 17ºF, with air temps hovering at the freezing point. Then this afternoon the wind swung around again. Northerly winds, now 21 knots, have cooled and dried the air. Here's the current temp graph. Notice that the dew point has dropped again. A chilly night in store tonight, below freezing. Brrr.

                                                           

Originally posted to Backyard Science on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 06:30 AM PST.

Also republished by Shutterbugs.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site