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Re: [Phys-L] Physics, seasons, and temperature.

On 2021/Mar/24, at 22:00, John Denker via Phys-l <> wrote:

can see that famously balmy places that are pretty far south by
European standards have latitudes that would be considered unbalmy
and pretty far north elsewhere.

Yes I was amazed at how balmy Cornwall was when I visited starting from the Potteries (N.Staffordshire).

When I first went to England (late Summer ’66) from NY City it quickly turned cold (I froze on deck.) until we neared England which was comfy. That my friend the Labs mgr. would golf after dinner impressed me on how far North we were.

On 2021/Mar/24, at 09:31, John Sohl via Phys-l < <>> wrote:

Water and soil have different thermal properties. (Hence "sea
breezes" and "land breezes" which generally switch each day in coastal
areas in response to solar warming.)
One result of this is that the oceans store a vast amount of thermal energy
and are slow to change compared to land. So the summer combination of
longer days and more direct (more concentrated) rays heats the land and
sea, but it takes a while for everything to warm up. The cold ocean is slow
to warm up and the sea breezes keep flowing that colder air over the land.
Bingo, it takes longer for the land to warm.
There are global air convection cells that respond to the seasons and move
air from over the ocean to over the land even in large scale areas like the
middle of continents. All of this takes time and that is part of the lag of
temperature change vs. sun position in the sky.

Finally, for the sake of completeness, as I alluded to above there are TWO
things that cause the seasons in mid and upper latitudes. Not just longer
days, but also more direct illumination as the Sun gets higher in the sky.


I’m very aware of the sea and land breezes, because I was a sailor in Santa Barbara. First as a member of the sailing class at UCSB and then a boat owner. The shift in wind direction occurred during class sailings. Fortunately, it was rather quick.

And now living in Salinas near the mouth of the Salinas Valley in Summer we have an intense wind [1] which cools during the day and a gentle warming one at night. Hence we have a “comfy” Summer. I think the day wind may explain why the coast side of our persimmon tree bears no fruit.

Unfortunately, another: As with many (all?) valleys the soil is very “rich”; we are, as John Steinbeck [2] described, the lettuce capital of the Nation, which results is ag. dirt coating everything including necessitating windshield washing nearly every day when windy! In summer, when the sea breeze is insufficient I run window fans backed by furnace filters. Last Fall I cut off some and measured the radioactivity. It was about 1X background. I presume Pb-210, maybe a little polonium also.

Which reminds me: a few weeks ago I finally measured the caesium in the mushrooms I'd collected in Sweden. I had put them in zip locks where they'd since dried. I’ve forgotten which trip, but Nancy is certain it was soon after Chernobyl. I laboriously put them in three planchets and covered them W/cling wrap. The difficult part because of the electrified plastic. My humid breath made it possible. Then I put it all in one for the MCA. I want to determine the activity, but very difficult, because my calibrated source is so active (about 10 µC in 2001). Where to collect, and which specie was from my host Erik Sundström who is the local “pro." mycologist. The docs consulted him whenever any one was poisoned. He (engineer at Sandvik) and his wife have published books on dyeing W/mushrooms. Anyway here’s what I’ve done so far:

[1] I suspect the topography of the valley explains the wind intensity. At the beginning of the valley it’s approx. a mile wide and over 200 m altitude; just North of Salinas (10 m) the valley turns into an ancient alluvial fan eight miles wide with the Santa Lucia and Gabilan mountains ending. At the mouth where it’s usually foggy, ideal for artichokes, is Castroville, the artichoke capital of the nation. <>

[2] A youthful job was measuring the sugar concentration of sugar beet extracts in Speckles using a polarimeter. (IIRC, using the one displayed in the Steinbeck Center.)