Category: Science

The sun will rise this morning at 9:10 am, and set 6 hours 49 minutes later at 3:59 this evening. Day length this time of year is decreasing at 6 minutes 38 minutes a day, but the decrease is slowing down: 6 minutes 30 seconds by the end of the week.

Weather? The blizzard that seems to be making the news in the lower 48 is a bust. The next week’s forecast is for cloudy, no precipitation, and daily highs pushing or above freezing. Hope it isn’t too slick.

North Pole Weather 11/3/14

The sun will rise this morning at 8:46 (standard time) and set 7 hours and 36 minutes later at 4:22 this afternoon. We had a fair amount of snow last week in the sense I could see it snowing outside the window, but the accumulation is still very minor.

Next week? Partly cloudy, with temperatures back and forth around 0°F.

I’m about the same, oxygen requirements decreasing very slowly, edema in my legs and feet almost gone. Still very little appetite. I hope I get to feeling better soon.


The sun will rise at 9:23 this morning and set 8 hours and 23 minutes later at 5:46. Temperatures? Skimming 0°F at night for the next week and generally 20’s in the daytime. Not that I’ve been out in it.

I’m still in the assisted living home, but the oxygen situation seems much better. At the moment, sitting in front of the computer, my blood oxygen is staying above 90 with no added oxygen. (97 at the moment I write this.) I still need a little when I’m exercising, but less and less with time.

The sun will rise this morning at 9, and set 9 hours and 10 minutes later at 6:10. Weather? Well, I haven’t been outdoors much, but the weather report says back and forth through freezing this week. I doubt the snow will that, though.

I’m now in an assisted living facility, still tethered tp the oxygen supply. Just as well I didn’t try to go home, as I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have come close to managing.

Hospital window 10-11-14The sun will rise this morning at 8:38 in the morning, and set 9 hours and 57 minutes later at 6:35 this evening. Weather? There’s snow on the ground, with about an even chance whether it’s going to be the start of the seasonal snowpack. Temperatures for the next few days are expected to go back and forth through freezing, with both rain and snow forecast.

All I can tell for sure out of the hospital window is that the ground is white and the sky hazy. Yes, still the hospital. I’m out of the ICU, but still very dependent on oxygen and probably stuck here for the next few days, at least.

After that? Still very much up in the air.

anchorage airport 10:2:14Very brief weather today: it’s snowing and the leaves are down in Fairbanks and the sunset was beautiful with mostly sunshine and termination dust on the Anchorage mountains. Yes, I’m back in Fairbanks, but also back in the hospital so don’t expect much in the way of blogging this week. (Last month’s were pre-scheduled and this month only the quotes are so far.) And working on my laptop in a hospital bed (I’m still in the extensive care ward) is not easy.

I think they let me out of the Anchorage hospital too early, though I admit I was pushing for it. I flew back Thursday after a PET test with low blood sugar, arrived home very tired and just got tireder. Also started having trouble keeping food down. Saturday afternoon I asked Sheila  to take me to the emergency room of the hospital (because of the nausea) where they diagnosed me with probable pneumonia. About the time they were going to take me down for X-rays, I died on the EM room table. If you have to die, that’s where to do it! I don’t know whether they hit me first with the shock pads or the heart massage, but I woke up rather puzzled by the hiatus and with sore ribs–some probably cracked.

Did you know nausea is a frequent symptom of heart irregularity (which is what I had) in women? I do now, and it has been my most frequent sign (immediately preceding the warning buzzer going off) about 4 more times. So far they’ve been able to shock me out if it almost at once. without my even losing awareness–more grist for the writer’s mill .

They think they’ve figured out the heart irregularity–my potassium and magnesium, both important for nerve function, were way low. Also, the first they didn’t have the heart records, so gave me the wrong medications, so now I’m hooked to too many wires and tubes to count, and spending another night in intensive care. Sounds like I will get over this, though I can look forward to more chemo.

Oh, yesterday’s post was written, but I forgot to push the schedule button. It’s up now.

View out the hospital widow when I'm walking for exercise.

View out the hospital widow when I’m walking for exercise.

The sun will rise today in Fairbanks at 7:34 in the morning, and set 12 hours 16 minutes later at 7:51 pm. Yes, it’s the equinox today – at 6:29 pm, to be exact. But equinox does not mean 12 hour days


In the first place, sunset and sunrise are defined by when the top edge of the sun touches the horizon. Twelve hour days would be true if the center of the sun was the defining point.

Second, where you see the sun is not where it is actually located, especially when it is near the horizon. Even seen a road mirage where it looks as if a hot road is covered with water? What you are really seeing is the light of the sky, bent by the strong temperature gradient near the road. The opposite kind of bending occurs when the air near the ground is denser that that higher up, which is the normal case in the atmosphere. In this case, the sun looks higher in the sky than is really the case. The result is that days at the equinox are really a little bit longer than the nights.

It didn’t rain much in Fairbanks between the first few days in September and the last weekend, though we did get a good dollop last Saturday. Anchorage (I’m still in the hospital there) has been making up for it. Well over 4″ so far, and raining most of the time I’ve been in the hospital here.

North Pole Weather 9/15/14

Backyard 9-9-14In Fairbanks, the sun will rise at 7:13 in the morning at set 13 hours later at 8:17 this evening. I’m not in Fairbanks, but unexpectedly in Anchorage, where the sun will rise at 7:27 and set at 8:21. Sorry I don’t have much more, but I find myself unexpectedly hospitalized in Anchorage.

Sunflowers Tina

Jut to prove sunflowers can be grown in Alaska

Just to prove sunflowers can be grown in Alaska.

The sun will rise this morning at 6:53, and set 13 hours 50 minutes later at 8:42 this evening, giving us a day 6 minutes 40 seconds shorter than yesterday. We now have true astronomical night (sun more than 18° below the horizon) for a couple of hours, starting after midnight. The first two days in September gave us more rain than we get in an average whole month of September, so while it’s clear right now, I’m not counting on it staying that way. Clear this time of year means frost danger, anyway.And the forecast for this week is mostly clear to slightly cloudy, with forecast lows in the high 20’s to low 30’s.


This one was taken when I was a postdoc at NCAR in the early 70’s/

Alaska and sunflowers are a chancy combination in September, as we’re already looking over our shoulders for Jack Frost. (Looking over our shoulders? We’ve already had several hard frosts.) But I know where to find a garden of 6 ‘ sunflowers, and I stopped and took a picture on my way to the Farmers’ Market last week. (Good thing I did it in late August, because when I went by two days ago the frost had taken them.) I also have a nice sunflower photo I took sometime in 1971, while I was at NCAR and taking wildflower photos on the Mesa. So while I didn’t purchase or plant a sunflower in Tina Downey’s memory, I am posting these two photos in honor of a much-missed blogging voice. Rest in peace, Tina.

Plastic on the squash bed

Plastic on the squash bed

The sun will rise this morning at 6:31, and set 14 hours and 36 minutes later at 9:08 this evening. We’re now losing about 6 minutes 43 seconds a day. It’s starting to feel like fall, though, if not quite like winter. The official airport temperature hasn’t dropped below freezing yet, though it reached 33 °F Saturday morning, and I’m pretty sure it was colder out my way.

Frost nip on the pineapple sage

Frost nip on the pineapple sage

I’ve put the plastic cover on the squash, put row cover on the potted mints, and started bringing the rest of the potted plants into the garage overnight. I also separated the hoses from the outdoor faucets. Even “frostproof” fittings can be damaged by freezing if the hoses are left attached. So far the only actual frost damage I’ve seen was discoloration of the growing tips of the pineapple sage. The forecast suggests slight warming next week, but lows are still forecast in the 30’s.

It’s dried out a little, though it’s now official: 2014 was the wettest summer in nearly a hundred year of records in Fairbanks. Certainly it’s the first summer I’ve had to do almost no watering!

P.S. September 2: already in September we’ve had more precipitation than is normal for all of September, and frost is predicted for Wednesday night.