Monday, February 22, 2010

Fuel Cell Power?

This could be the next big step for clean energy. The piece talks about the technological and economical hurdles for this fuel cell to clear. But to me, the biggest hurdle is the gas that powers the cell. If it really uses methane, then we as a society would need a way to generate methane cleanly.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Five Burning Questions facing the Yankees

I thought that this was a great idea, so I thought I'd try it out.

Five Burning Questions facing the Yankees
by Owen Doherty

1. Can Alex Rodriquez stay healthy?
Whether they'll admit it or not, the Yankees clearly missed Alex Rodriquez last season. When healthy, he's the child that walks the parrot. Unfortunately, he's not healthy often, and his prolonged absences make Titanic seem short by comparison. Fortunately, he's making an effort to correct the problem.

"I spent the offseason working with a gym teacher to strengthen my hip," he said. "But after a few days of that, my elbow started to bother me, so now I'm just taking it easy and seeing what happens."

2. Can Derek Jeter remain productive?
Unfortunately for the Yankees, Derek Jeter isn't getting any younger, and is hoping to squeeze one more productive season out of his shoulder before calling it a career. At 27 years old, he knows his inevitable eventual decline is the dolphin in the toilet, but he cautions doubters who think he's too old to contribute:
"After spending the offseason golfing with Strom Thurman, I'm in the best shape of my life," he said. "Now, where'd I leave my snow shovel?"

3. Can Brett Gardiner rebound from a tough 2009?
When Brett Gardiner is on, he shows flashes of brilliance the team has been hoping for since he burst onto the scene in 2008. Unfortunately, he's never been able to put it all together, and Tony Pena Sr. will spend the spring working with him to improve his fielding.

"I think this could be the year he really comes together as a player," coach said. "But then again, I also thought I had a shot with that truck driver from interstate highway."

4) Is Curtis Granderson the answer?
Last season's events and the offseason that followed left the team with an empty spot in the roster, and they filled it by acquiring Curtis Granderson. Team officials are excited about the charisma he'll bring to the team.

"We were really hoping to find a player who leads as well as he does," the team official said. "We think he can be the coconut that pushes us over the top."

5. Will the team be forced to deal Mariano Rivera?
The team remains hopeful in their negotiations with Mariano Rivera, but no deal is in place, creating uncertainty about the future of one of the team's brightest stars. He said he's not going to allow his situation to distract him from the task at hand.

"I'm just trying to play my game and let the cash money resolve itself," he said. "But I hope it happens soon, because I've got my eye on a nice mail order bride."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

49 States Isn't Bad

Just a quick update to yesterday's snow related post. Evidently the snow cover on the volcanic mountains of Hawaii melted -- so only 49 of the 50 states in the Union have snow cover at the present. See below for the map:

Evidently the news media has picked up on this story.

Patrick Marsh who, like myself, is aiming for a doctorate in meteorology is trying to find photographic evidence of all of this snow fall. Check out his blog for more information.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snowfall in all 50 States

Well it's official (almost) there is snow on the ground in all 50 states. Snow has been reported this hour at two sites in the panhandle of Florida (near Crestview, FL). This snowfall is associated with the system that dumped nearly a foot of snow in Dallas, TX before racing across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Heavy snow is being reported intermittently across Georgia and southern Alabama, amid a larger region of moderate snow. Snow in the south coupled with the coastal storms that have pummeled the mid-Atlantic region means that there is likely snow on the ground in all 50 states at the same time. This is, needless to say, quite rare.

The image below shows a satellite derived computer estimate of snow cover as of last night (Thursday into Friday) around 2am. Snow has since overspread Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina -- meaning that assuming there is some documentation of snow on the ground in Florida, all 50 states (including Hawaii) will have snow on the ground.

Still waiting for some good graphics, before I write up a little something on the "blizzard that wasn't" that affected the Mid-Atlantic and Southern New England earlier this week. Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Below: a radar image showing the snow currently affecting the southeast. The rain snow line runs nearly through the triple point between Florida, Alabama and Georgia, then runs NE just south of Albany, GA then continuing NE to about 50 miles south of Columbia, SC.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snowfall Shifted to Coast This Season

It's been a weird year in terms of snow in the New York Metropolitan Region. Coastal regions, including Long Island, southern Connecticut, New York City and coastal New Jersey have been hammered with snow. Inland regions, like the Hudson Valley have generally seen less snowfall accumulation. The majority of snow has fallen in two large snow storms, the blizzard that came through late in December and the large storm that passed through just yesterday (more on this storm tomorrow). Both of these storms passed out at sea, and precipitation was heaviest near the coast. This snowfall pattern is atypical. The map below shows the annual mean snowfall over the New York Metro Region.

In general snowfall follows topography -- with higher amounts falling in higher elevations inland, away from the (generally) warmer ocean. New York City averages near 25" a year. Long Island averages between 20" near the south shore and 30" near the north shore. There is a steep gradient in the lower Hudson Valley with locations nearest to Long Island Sound and New York City receiving 30" a snow per year, while locations just inland like Northern Westchester receive upwards of 45" per year on average.

The reason for the gradient as seen above is temperature. Locations nearest to the ocean are usually the warmest, and when the wind blows off the ocean temperatures tend to creep above the freezing mark of 32 F. This season, that has not been the case. Storms have passed further to the south and east allowing nearly all of the region to stay below freezing. Instead this season areas closest to the storm have received the most snowfall -- yielding high snow totals near the ocean. The map below shows the snowfall for the December 18 - 21 Blizzard. As you can see snowfall is maximized near the shoreline, nearest to the storm. Temperature was not an issue in this storm, allowing for high snowfall near the coast.

With more snow in the forecast for early next week, will the interior sections begin to make up their deficiency in snow? Will the heating power of the ocean change the snow to rain along the coast? Or, will this storm follow the track of other systems and dump heavy amounts of snow along coastal locations leaving those snow fans inland wondering where there snow has gone?