OR-AMS Meeting Summary

 

“Mid-winter Weather Sampler” - Photo1, Photo2

 

  On February 18, 2009, 25 members and guests came to enjoy food…and to share their weather projects.  We held our event at the Stark Street Pizza House, near Mall 205, in east Portland.  President Bobby Corser welcomed everyone and made announcements.

 

  Charles Dalton, NWS-Portland, talked about the new “CoCoRaHS” program.  It is an all volunteer observer network designed to help fill in the data gaps on 24-hour precipitation, snowfall, and hail.  CoCoRaHS started in 1998 and is now operational in 33 states with over 1000 observers.  It is not a NOAA project, but started at Colorado State University.  The program is a hybrid of weather spotters and climate cooperative observers.  To join, go to a NWS website (http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/pqr/cocorahs.php).  You need to buy a 4-inch rain-gage and enter your report on the CoCoRaHS website.

 

  Kyle Dittmer reported on the one-day Climate Change Symposium at the Menucha Conference Center in the Columbia River Gorge, on February 16.  About 40-45 attended to hear expert speakers on climate science, biologists, economics, energy, sustainable living, and religion.  He briefly mentioned the chapter to the audience and handed out over 30 info-pamphlets.

 

  Richard Brenne (organizer of the Menucha event) wants to organize other symposiums.  His next may be a weather-climate theme.  He’s seeking specific historical PNW weather events (e.g., cold snaps, extended dry spells) versus climate model results.

 

  Steve Pierce mentioned the upcoming PNW Weather Workshop in Seattle (see our Front page).  He talked about the connection of the PNA-PDO-Solar activity.  The PNA (Pacific North American pattern, http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/pna/new.pna_index_ensm.html) was low before the big snow events of December 2008.  The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO, http://cses.washington.edu/cig/pnwc/aboutpdo.shtml) is also very negative.  Kyle said that the variability in the salmon stocks of the Columbia River Basin and Alaska gave the basis for discovering the PDO as a 20-30 year natural cycle.  Steve then showed solar data for the last 400 years and the variability in the sun’s output.  The sunspot counts in 2008 were very low.  Have we started the next solar cycle yet?  Were our recent snow storms tied to low solar activity?

 

  Phil Welke asked “What weather terms should be used in a forecast?”  What words should be avoided?  He offered “heavy wind”, “dense fog”, “strong rain” as examples.  Suggestion sheets were circulated among those present.  He’ll tally the results and pass it along to Bobby Corser.

 

  Charlie Feris showed his detailed, colored isotherm (daily highs/lows) maps for the Portland metro area.  He worked up the data when he worked as a Meteorologist at BPA.

 

Note-taker: Kyle Dittmer, 2005-2009 OR-AMS President (now Past-President)