October 21, 2014
Wikipedia says that Portage Lake is part of the Keweenaw Waterway, a partly natural, partly artificial waterway that cuts across the Keweenaw Peninsula to provide access for shipping from Lake Superior. If you click the link you can get an aerial view.
Saw the fog on Lake Portage from my apartment window after I woke up today. I knew the potential this fog can bring so I darted down to the lake shore. But the fog was so heavy that the foliage on the other bank were completely blocked. Just when I was about to give up and head back for school, the fog started to break as the sun rises. And then the magic started to unfold before my eyes. Soon the fog lifted and fill the campus uphill, the entire campus was bathed in soft morning light and there were Tyndall effect everywhere! I can not think of a better way to start a day of work.
What’s the Tyndall effect you ask? The UC Davis ChemWiki explains that the Tyndall effect was identified by 19th Century Irish scientist John Tyndall.
Because a colloidal solution or substance (like fog) is made up of scattered particles (like dust and water in air), light cannot travel straight through. Rather, it collides with these micro-particles and scatters causing the effect of a visible light beam. This effect was observed and described by John Tyndall as the Tyndall Effect.
The Tyndall effect is an easy way of determining whether a mixture is colloidal or not. When light is shined through a true solution, the light passes cleanly through the solution, however when light is passed through a colloidal solution, the substance in the dispersed phases scatters the light in all directions, making it readily seen.
For example, light is not reflected when passing through water because it is not a colloid. It is however reflected in all directions when it passes through milk, which is colloidal. A second example is shining a flashlight into fog or smog; the beam of light can be easily seen because the fog is a colloid.
October 15, 2014
Predicting Winter Weather: Woolly Bear Caterpillars at the Farmer’s Almanac says that in 1948, Dr. C. H. Curran, curator of insects at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City sought to determine the average number of reddish-brown segments and use that to forecast the coming winter weather. For eight years, he continued to try and prove scientifically a weather rule of thumb that the wider that middle brown section is (and the more brown segments there are) the milder the coming winter will be, while a narrow brown band means a harsh winter.
Between 1948 and 1956, Dr. Curran’s average brown-segment counts ranged from 5.3 to 5.6 out of the 13-segment total, meaning that the brown band took up more than a third of the woolly bear’s body. As those relatively high numbers suggested, the corresponding winters were milder than average. But Curran was under no scientific illusion: He knew that his data samples were small. Although the experiments popularized and, to some people, legitimized folklore, they were simply an excuse for having fun. Curran, his wife, and their group of friends escaped the city to see the foliage each fall, calling themselves The Original Society of the Friends of the Woolly Bear.
…Mike Peters, an entomologist at the University of Massachusetts, doesn’t disagree, but he says there could, in fact, be a link between winter severity and the brown band of a woolly bear caterpillar. “There’s evidence,” he says, “that the number of brown hairs has to do with the age of the caterpillar—in other words, how late it got going in the spring. The [band] does say something about a heavy winter or an early spring. The only thing is . . . it’s telling you about the previous year.”
Read on for more!
More weather on Michigan in Pictures!
October 11, 2014
Fall color is everywhere this weekend in Michigan – get out and get some before the ice gets louder than the fire!!
About this photo of the Carp River in Porcupine Mountains State Park from five years and one day ago, Matthew writes:
Autumn in the Porcupine Mountains, from a few years ago…arguably one of the most bizarre weather experiences I’ve encountered. When I arrived, it was full-on blizzard conditions. The snow only lasted a few hours, but for that time, the forest was utterly surreal.
More from the Porcupines on Michigan in Pictures including this photo that Matthew took from the Lake of the Clouds overlook in 2009!!
September 24, 2014
September 12, 2014
“These are not lakes. These are the world’s 8th seas, and her bottom is littered with the wreckage of over six thousand ships.”
~Rick Jones from Three Sisters by Song of the Lakes
It’s wave week on Michigan in Pictures!
Greg also has a video of these waves, some topping 15 feet, and you can venture further out in the Big Lake with this video of a freighter on Lake Superior from the Sep 10th as well.
August 22, 2014
“Winter is Coming.”
~ House Stark
A little reminder to soak up summer while we have it. If you need a little more, the Old Farmer’s Almanac says:
Published Wednesday, the New Hampshire-based almanac predicts a ‘super-cold’ winter in the eastern two-thirds of the country. The west will remain a little bit warmer than normal.
Publishers claim their forecasts–based on a ‘secret’ formula that looks at weather and astronomical trends–have an 80 percent accuracy rate.
‘Colder is just almost too familiar a term,’ Editor Janice Stillman said. ‘Think of it as a refriger-nation.’
More black & white photography on Michigan in Pictures.
August 13, 2014
On Monday, the city of Detroit was hit with over 4.5″ of rain, the second highest one-day total following 4.7″ on July 31, 1925. The rain hit during the afternoon rush hour and submerged freeways and neighborhoods.
There’s some photos and video from mLive, some pics from Twitter and Instagram put together by Oliver Darcy and more in this Huffington Post feature on the flooding with a bunch of photos and a few videos.
More floods on Michigan in Pictures.