Good evening everybody. It is that time once again...time for me to litter your email box with yet another dispatch from the Far North. As you can tell, I have retired the "Alaskan, with English Subtitles" series of emails, because...well, just because. I am getting old enough that I can begin to use that as an excuse...so there. And, in the spirit of new beginnings...
Well, my life as a car owner is progressing well. At this point, I am still smitten with my car, and I am figuring out his/her little idiosyncrasies. It has been nice.
I drove down to Delta Junction last Monday, just to see what was down there. The answer being, of course, more of Alaska. I have some new pictures that I will be posting on the website soon.
Then, on this past Sunday, I decided to take advantage of the persisting nice weather, and drove down to Denali Nat'l Park to do some hiking and to partake of some general outdooredness. It was a beautiful day, and I had the trail mostly to myself on the ascent, which meant I was the lone recipient of the high pitched scolding from the squirrels, sounding like a Russian ballet coach hopped up on a triple espresso. I did the Mt. Healy Trail once again. Some of you might remember me lamenting the fact that I tried this hike, since the hike resulted in sore, sore legs. But things went much better this time. I took a more conservative pace on the ascent, and made a better time of it. After the hike, I made the descent and met many people, making me indeed glad that I arrived when I did.
I drove a few dozen miles south, through Cantwell, and out into the Broad Pass, a drastically flat and wide area between the two ranges. The views of Mt. McKinley, which had been very good all day, were somewhat spoiled by the clouds that were beginning to roll in, but I got some nice views, nonetheless. Again, pictures are forthcoming.
My car is proving to be a nice economy-mobile, too. On the trip, my little putter got just over 32 mpg, which is quite good, especially since gas prices are still high.
However, despite all of my cars nice features, it remains nameless while the Great "Name Brian's Car" Contest continues. I have received a few nominations so far, from a handful of folks, but unfortunately, I announced the contest the night before the terrorist attacks last week, only to have it propelled out of everybody's minds by the events.
SO, with a hope that nothing of extreme note happens tomorrow, I would like to take this opportunity to re-announce the Great "Name Brian's Car" Contest. You can go to the section of my website and you can see a picture of the car, a few of the suggestions that have been submitted, and a little poem that I "wrote" to get everybody inspired...here is the address
Make sure the get your suggestions in, regardless of what it is. I look forward to hearing from all of you...that means everybody...as in, if you are reading this, I expect a suggestion...come on, it will be fun.
BRIAN'S WINTER DIARY
I am happy to announce a new segment for my emails, at least the emails that will follow for the next 8 months...
Here is the list of indicators that Old Man Winter is getting ready to test out his 2001-02 repertoire on us, the opening night audience:
Sept 10th...no more green leaves on any of the annual trees.
Sept 19th...Brian scrapes his windshield for the first time, and we aren't talking about a little frost, we are talking full windshield frost here.
Sept 25th...Yeah, I know it hasn't happened yet, but that is the day when we here at 64.82°N Latitude/147.87°W Longitude pass finally draw even with, and pass with a vengeance, the folks at 40.73°N/99.00°W (Kearney, NE) in the department of daylength. We have had longer days than Kearney since I got here, and I finally will be able to start complaining to all of you about our darkness. Get ready for a barrage of complaints. We are still losing nearly 7 minutes of daylight per day...a startling pace.
Perhaps the most amazing way to watch our impending dire situation is through the webcam at our website at work. You can watch the ever decreasing solar angle as the glare increases into the lens of our webcam, which faces south. You can see the webcam at this address:
OUT THE DOOR
Well, I am lucky enough to be privy to yet another new experience in my new career. "Rawinsonde climatology, trends, and relationships to atmospheric indices for Barrow, Alaska (1958-1999)" by Jan Curtis, Brian Hartmann, and Gerd Wendler has officially been submitted to The Royal Society's International Journal of Climatology for review and hopefully, publication. Gerd is optimistic that it will be accepted, so I feel pretty good about it. Naturally, I will be keeping all of you updated on the progress of the paper.
Now that the paper is out of our hands for a few weeks, I get
to concentrate a little bit more on some of the other projects
my responsibility while running the Climate Center. Foremost among these is the website. I am doing my best in my webmaster infancy to keep on top of changes and updates, but it isn't easy, as most anybody who has worked with a website knows. However, it is very rewarding.
We have some data holding that need to be updated to current dates, and the new climate normals are starting to trickle in the door. Every 10 years, the National Climatic Data Center in North Carolina puts out the new 30 year normals, which is an overly complex (and relatively secret) formula that was developed, apparently, by the World Meteorological Organization to determine what is, for lack of a better word, normal, as far as temperature and precipitation go. There are more than a few variations on the formula, and trying to find the formulas in the literature can leave you frustrated, at best. I don't know why they keep it so guarded? Perhaps because they would be seen as fools if we saw what it takes to be statistically normal in the chaos-ridden world of atmospheric science?
Also, I get to move on to another research project that is nearing the publication stage, but I will save the details of that one for a later date, so that I have something to bore you with.
IT'S THE BRITS
This is a new segment of my emails called, ITS THE BRITS, in which I will name a word which is only mediocre when spoken by an American, but takes on a great deal of charm when pronounced by somebody from Britain.
This weeks word:
We sloppy Americans pronounce it guh-Rahj, which is butchery,
The charming British pronounce it Gaah-raj, which is much more fun to say.
My dearest friend, Kristen Clark, tuned me into a website that is really neat. You put in your birthday, and this site tells you all sorts of interesting facts about that date. So, that got me interested in seeing what was special about my birthday, which in turn, gave me an idea about another way that I can bore all of you, and maybe bring a smile to your face, if I am lucky...it is called, BRIAN'S ALMANAC. I will include one interesting factoid about myself.
In the spirit of birthdays, here is today's fact:
Brian shares a birthday (March 27th) with Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen. Roentgen, born in 1845, discovered the x-ray, and received the first Nobel Prize in Physics, in 1901. Cool.
If you want to find out interesting facts about your birthday, or any day, go here:
Of course, Kristen doesn't have to worry about her birthday being notable...you may recall, she celebrated her birthday last Tuesday, September 11th.
Well, I am going to wrap this up for now.
I need everybody to go to my website and to submit a nomination for the name of my car. The sooner everybody sends in a suggestion, no matter how contrived and silly and nerdy, the sooner we can all vote, and the sooner my car will begin to feel better about itself.
Here is my website address...I have added a bunch of new features, including a just for fun section, a distraction section, and a message board, so you call all leave anonymous messages of a threatening and teasing nature to make me feel paranoid.
I hope that everybody has a nice weekend, and happy Autumn. Today is the Equinox. I almost forgot about that.
Brian "I wish I had a Gaah-raj for my Out-o." Hartmann
*This email was first transmitted on Sept. 21st, 2001