Tuesday, 26 January 2010

This must have been the turning point

…of this winter. Or it’s just my wishful thinking. Temperatures in the last days have been very low. Chill snap hit its low in Warsaw on Monday, 25 January, when the temperature in the morning dipped to –23 degrees. It was colder than last year (–22 on 6 January 2009), but the record from 24 January 2006, when the temperature in Warsaw fell to –27 degrees, has not been beaten. The absolute record, from 8 January 1987, –31 degrees, also remains intact. And may it stay so. The activity of the sceptics who undermine the theory of global warming is still noticeable. Just like one trading session, when the stock prices decline doesn’t scrap the whole bull market, one anomalously cold January won’t blow up the general upward temperature trend. May they be happy, because it’s –25, not –30, probably thanks to global warming and may they focus on lobbies who try to profit from the climate changes.

If you are interested in temperature measurements taken in Warsaw, I recommend you a website by NASA, where you can access the average monthly temperatures from 1881 to 2009. I downloaded the file and copied the data to spreadsheet and formatted them to revamp the layout and be able to process them, etc. Please write you e-mail in comment if you want me to send you the MS Excel file.

I compared them with two other sources available on IMGW website – latest average monthly records and long-term averages and they look incoherent…

I have to praise media this time. Instead of spreading panic they warned against frost, as indeed the temperatures below minus twenty might be dangerous to human life and health. Many tragedies could have been avoided, not only by abstaining from drinking, but also by simply wrapping up. Sometimes the results of dressing in line with the fashion make themselves felt after years…

Is the frost visible? That’s a kind of quirky question, but I identified two signs of temperature of –20 degrees or lower.
Firstly, the radiation fog that usually hovers and makes air less transparent and billows of smoke coming out from almost every chimney. They also exacerbate the visibility.

On Sunday afternoon I strolled around the village. Not a soul around! Unlike other locals, I wasn’t scared away by low temperature. Actually it wasn’t that chilly, just –13 degrees, plus the clear sky and almost still air. Such weather is surely conducive to revel in the beauty of winter landscape.Just look at the pictures. Isn’t it picturesque? The landscape, not necessarily the high voltage electricity mains. And the trains run normally to supply the power plant in W-wa Siekierki. The ultimate upside of the chilly weather is that the chances of spotting a coal train are much higher.

Meanwhile I have to say my consumer electronics didn’t let me down. While on my Sunday walk I was rung and spoke on my mobile phone for thirteen minutes and the handset didn’t show any negative effects of exposure to low temperature. I took ten snaps before my camera signalled the batteries were almost flat. Quite decent, taking into account batteries were charged up in early November and I’ve taken around 200 shots since then. BTW, can some other more experienced photographers tell me how to protect the camera from cold? I don’t put in batteries every time I want to take a photo, I just keep the device in the inner pocket of my winter jacket. When I bring it home, I take out batteries and memory card for about three hours to protect them from temperature shock. This method has never failed…

The data I downloaded show no correlation between average temperatures in the consequent months. This year’s frosty January doesn’t mean the February will also be chilly. When it comes to long-term forecasts, meteorologists are on a par with fortune tellers. The last forecast were totally flawed. I wish I had archived it and could review, so believe me or not, but according to long-term forecasts from mid-2009, September should have been cool and wet, October warm and dry, November warm, December usually warm, January likewise. In three (Sep, Oct, Jan) out of five months the weather played a prank and turned out exactly the other way round.

The current long-term forecasts suggest February will follow this type of weather, March will be chilly, April windy, cool and sometimes snowy, May moderate and June and July will bring waves of heat and drought. I sincerely hope the weather in coming months will prove the forecasters totally wrong!


Michael Dembinski said...

Some great snaps there Bartek. Especially the coal train!

Have you ever used a circular polarising filter to accentuate the contrast and blueness of sky on days like this?

Battery protection: I bought a spare for my Nikon D80, and keep a loaded one in my pocket, nice and warm, should the one in the camera pack up.

That first screenshot - which website was that from? I've always been using http://www.if.pw.edu.pl/~meteo/ but their kit fails at twenty below.

Weather forecasters are on par with banks' analysts. In October, HSBC predicted €1 would be 3.80zł; Deutsche Bank predicted 4.70zł. Actual out-turn: 4.10zł.

student SGH said...

Thanks Michael, I did my best :)

I haven't tried it. How would I put it on my compact Canon PowerShot A460? Or should I try to tweak the photos in computer? This doesn't work, the quality of the photo depends on the moment it is taken. Once you know how your camera works, how to set, which mode to set, etc., you stand a chance to take a good snap. Photoshop won't make up for imperfection of camera, or, more often photographer.

I did see how it works on your blog. The shade of blue and saturation are impressing.

I sue rechargeable ones. I lost one pair in Świeradów last September, bought the new pair in November, but haven't unpacked it yet.

I noticed this flaw - 73,3 degrees. It's not a website, it's an application, I sent you a setup file, just install it and be online to check the temperature. The default station is W-wa Okęcie.

I'm wary of PW measurements, for one simple reason - their station is located in the centre, so the temperature will be always one or two degrees higher than in Jeziorki or NI. W-wa Okęcie is west to the airport, just adjecent to Al. Krakowska, near Okęcie tram / bus terminus.

The chief economist of "Politics, Economy, Society" will now have his own opportunity to predict the PLN/EUR currency rate.

31 March 2010 - 4,42PLN/EUR (=/-0,05)
30 June 2010 - 4,19PLN/EUR (=/-0,05)
31 December 2010 - 3,88PLN/EUR (=/-0,05)
I'll report back to you and we'll see if I can beat bank analysts...

uzar said...

Just looking at these pictures makes me shiver. :-)
Liked the pics a lot but they reminded me too much of the weather. Brrr...