Measure of a Mukluk

Today we went to SFO to pick up “The Kid”. He’s flown home for the holiday. Along the way, the weather was a bit, er, wet.

Not particularly outside historical norms, but beyond what we’ve seen for the last couple of decades.

I’d been up last night working on ancient metrology again. Ran into an interesting site that had already figured out a couple of things I was working on. Nice to have the time saved, and the ‘cross check’. Seems the English Foot is important as a base for some other measures, and that several of the ‘other’ feet are in fact special purpose feet. For example, if you use 25/8 as an estimate for Pi (as was done in ‘the old times’) one of the ‘odd feet’ is exactly right for measuring a perimeter of a circle. The “error” in it, exactly offsets the error of 25/8 as a Pi estimate. So, making a giant circular monument like Stonehenge? Best to have a special ‘foot’ for the perimeter or those stones you cut may not be quite right…

But I digress…

On the way home, we hit several ‘almost hydroplane’ puddles with water being splashed up car roof height. Then, on reaching “Our Street”, one end was flooded all the way to the middle of the road crown. (Leaves, set out for pickup, clogging the storm drains.).

I pulled into the driveway and everyone headed into the house. While I put on my “Trusty Storm Boots” and got the big broom… When this happens, a couple of us do the shovel and sweep and clear the storm drains until the road comes back ;-)

Then it occurred to me…

Those boots have been sitting behind the closet door, unused and gathering dust, for about 25? years now. I’d looked at them a couple of times and thought “Maybe I ought to just toss them. I don’t use them anymore.” Yet, here I am, using them. Which got me remembering the LAST time I’d been opening the drains after a deluge. It was back when we’d just bought the house (no kids yet) and a little while after that (kids not old enough to ‘help’). Now both are graduated from college.

Yes, in between I’d gone to the mountains and used them. Or to other places. But not to My Street in a winter rain. That’s been a while. Almost exactly one PDO flip ago…

Which leads me back to the title…

And my latest muse on measuring.

What is “The measure of a Mukluk”? I would seem that it is “One PDO” or “about 25 to 30 years”. My boots are an indicator of the weather shift we’ve just had as the ‘cold side’ starts to settle in and the excess ocean heat gets sucked out and dumped as rain. FWIW, on the other end I think that a very active sun, on a cool ocean, also causes a bit of extra rain for just a little while until everything equalizes. No, not enough data yet. But looking at historical snow charts and remembering my experience base, I think the precipitation goes up just after inflection points, but not “middle of the PDO / trend”. Another “Dig Here!” to see if that hunch shows up in data.

What else has changed?

Heard on the weather report that Mount Shasta was predicted to pick up about 10 FEET of snow, at a rate of one foot an hour… (though it was a bit unclear about ‘over how long’). That’s a blizzard. I once got stuck on I-5 freeway near there one night. IIRC it was about 1970 or so. I was doing fine until the highway patrol brought the freeway to a halt. We sat for about 3 hours as the snow piled up. They then left and most folks got moving and left, too. And I was stuck in the snow that had fallen. I won’t go into the whole story now, but about 10 hours later I got moving again, over about a 4 inch layer of (then) packed ice/snow. It can snow a lot there, in a very short time.

So now I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of stories about how the Glaciers on Mount Shasta are growing due to increased Global Warming…

In 2002, scientists made the first detailed survey of Mount Shasta’s glaciers in 50 years. They found that seven of the glaciers have grown over the period 1951-2002, with the Hotlum and Wintun Glaciers nearly doubling, the Bolam Glacier increasing by half, and the Whitney and Konwakiton Glaciers growing by a third. The study concluded that though there has been a two to three degree Celsius temperature rise in the region, there has also been a corresponding increase in the amount of snowfall. Increased temperatures have tapped Pacific Ocean moisture, leading to snowfalls that supply the accumulation zone of the glacier with 40 percent more snowfall than is melted in the ablation zone. Over the past 50 years, the glacier has actually expanded 30 percent, which is the opposite of what is being observed in most areas of the world. Researchers have also stated that if the global warming forecast for the upcoming next 100 years are accurate, the increased snowfall will not be enough to offset the increased melting, and the glacier is then likely to retreat.

Whitney Glacier, along with the Hubbard Glacier in Alaska, are larger now than in 1890.
However, Hubbard Glacier, along with a few other notable glaciers whose termini are at sea level, are calving glaciers.

So glacier retreat is a symptom of Global Warming, unless the glacier is advancing, then THAT is a symptom of Global Warming….

Yet we had, from 1952 to ’50 years’ later, both a cold phase (New Ice Age scare of the ’70s) and a warming phase. And since 1890, we’ve had over 120 years of weather changes. And the glaciers grew.

So IMHO they are just not related to “Global Warming”. Someone needs to tell the nice men in white coats to explain to the other men in grey jackets that ice and snow are cold…

At any rate, one thing is very clear. My Mukluks know what the weather cycle is, and what it means.

They have now been cleaned of dust and are happily back in service for this ‘turn of the cycle’…

More Snow

FWIW, this dumper isn’t the first heavy snow of the season. Shasta has already had a couple. One back on about 3 December:

Mount Shasta: Is U.S. Snowstorm Record in Jeopardy?

Nick Wiltgen
Published: Dec 3, 2012, 9:08 AM EST

If anyone lived on the summit of California’s Mount Shasta, they’d need a mighty big shovel to dig out of the snowstorm that will bury the mountain in astronomical amounts of snow through the weekend — amounts that could flirt with world records.

The Thursday morning National Weather Service summit forecast for Shasta predicted an incredible 33 to 39 inches of snow — just for Thursday alone.

(By comparison, Atlanta, Ga., has reported 38.9 inches of snow since March 1, 1989 — a period of over 23 years.)

But it gets crazier.

Add in another 37 to 43 inches of snow Thursday night, and additional amounts ranging from 21 to 35 inches every 12 hours through Saturday night, plus a light dusting of 11 to 17 inches on Sunday…

…and you get a storm total of 176 inches. On the low end.

Add up the high end of the numbers and you get a forecast maximum of 218 inches of snow in four days!

Now that 10 feet at a foot an hour was just a ‘blurb’ that went by on the TV. I’ve not found any confirmation nor details on what they were measuring. 10 foot total base? One storm? This series of storms? Nor where. At the lodge? Top of the ski area? On the summit where nobody is located so it’s all just guessing anyway?

So treat it with a whole lot of skepticism until some numbers come in. I can say that, right now, nobody with 1/2 a brain is out there measuring snow in a blizzard on the side of Mt. Shasta…

At any rate, as we sit around trying to get warm, looking at mounding snow, growing glaciers, cold rains, North Hemisphere snow extent beyond the averages, and more: Just remember, it’s so cold because of how warm it is, and we have so much snow because it does that when it’s hotter…

The Global Warmers tell me so…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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15 Responses to Measure of a Mukluk

  1. John Robertson says:

    There is nothing global warming can’t do. Its liken unto a god.
    Course from the behaviour of our saviours (from AGW) no good deed goes unpunished.
    Cold clear and -34C,up here, when it warms up to -20 it snows, then drops below 30 again.So we have about 14 inches of global warming so far this winter..
    The metric system got me in my teens, don’t compute in degrees F. But work construction in feet and inches.Metric is the law but building material is still american std and metric does not work.
    Environment Canada promised us a green christmas, so I guess in Canada white is the new green.
    Merry Christmas.

  2. John F. Hultquist says:

    Seems that 30 year interval is quite widespread:

    Falling trees, people killed, road closed, and . . .
    “I’ve heard the same comment over and over – they’ve never seen this kind of condition in 30 years here,” says Dan Farmer of the state DOT.

    White blanket of snow for us – Merry Christmas.

  3. KI says:

    FWIW mukluks are a canadian (eskimo) word for winter boots – not rain boots. They were made similar to moccasins except they were taller and lined with fur inside and out. It confused me when I first read this blog until I realized you meant rubber boots!

    [Reply: Poetic License! (I just really like the sound of Mukluks and, well, we don’t get enough snow here for me to have real ones!) I really do know the difference… but but, say mukluks 3 times fast and not smile. I dare you! -E.M.Smith]

  4. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M: We should ask our friend M.Vukcevic, as he has related climate with geomagnetic fields, and as these are changing…..and it can not be found anywhere data after 2010.
    Remember the “World Geophysical Year” of 1957?, something was detected back then as not proceeding as usual, so it was discovered the “south atlantic anomaly” which now is the south american anomaly (I am living with no protection at all…need a tin hat urgently-or rather a “faraday cage” :-) )
    As sea currents seem to approximately follow the vertical Z contours of the field, we can recur to watch everyday :
    See that blue (cooler) spot near your place of living, it will reach your coasts soon; and you know colder waters mean less evaporation.

  5. K says:

    Great word sketch- includes mukluk.

  6. R. de Haan says:

    I think you’re a lucky guy to be home in time.

    I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas

  7. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.: We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    @R. de Haan:

    What we get, the nation gets later… so it will be heavy snow in the colder places and a lot of rain in the others… We’re having “sunny” today, so Christmas ought to be nice at least out to about Chicago…

  9. Paul Hanlon says:

    Hi Chiefio,

    Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas. Thanks for your insights and I’ll look forward to lots more in the New Year.


  10. George B says:

    January or February of 1998 was pretty darned wet. It seemed to have rained for nearly a week straight. In Cupertino, the bridge over Calabazas creek on Miller Avenue clogged due to a debris dam and Miller Avenue became the creek. We had some snow that year and then got a fairly prolific “pineapple express”. But maybe you didn’t need your boots because the rains waited until after January 1 and most of the leaves were gone by that time. That was the year that my neighborhood in Cupertino flooded to just about the front door of my house. I went over to one of the local road maintenance yards and picked up sandbags to sandbag the garage door opening hoping to give us another inch or so of rise before we flooded. The flooding made up up the front yard to within maybe a foot (standard) of the sandbags.

    But I remember that winter. It rained and it rained and it rained. Both 1997 and 1998 had a lot of rain, in fact. Found this at one site:

    The winter season of 1997-1998 was one of the wettest on record across California, with typically double the normal amount of rainfall and about $550 million in flood and storm damage statewide. However, the previous season, with only normal rainfall, had over triple the damage ($1.8 billion). This discrepancy appears to be best explained by timing of storms within the season and not the total seasonal rainfall.

  11. George B says:

    Here is a newspaper article from the 1998 event in Cupertino. This was the weekend my wife learned she was carrying our daughter so I remember it fairly well. She also ran my truck into high water that weekend sucking water through the intake and breaking two pistons, cracked the block, and generally made a mess out of my little Toyota.

  12. handjive says:

    Seasons Greetings. Here is a chuckle from the Simpsons:

    Here, Krusty the Clown explains comedy today… Words like ‘mukluk’.

    [ ]

  13. E.M.Smith says:


    Oh, yes, the Simpsons…

    then there is the Bulbous Bouffant

    Per 1998:

    I’m mot sure, but I think I was in Florida then…


    Nice version…

  14. RalphB says:

    here in the Philippines before the latest tropical storm blew thru the moon had a tremendous ring around it. i believe it is caused by ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. anyway i pointed this out to my wife and she had never seen anything like it. that goes back 40+ years. anecdotal…yes but put enough anecdotes together and it makes you go hmmmm

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