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Davis Weather E-news
April 2012
In This Issue:

WeatherLink App for Android™

Android device imageQR Code for AppApp screenshot

Anyone with an Android smartphone can scan the QR code above and download the free app.

All you iPhone® users must now stop chiding Android owners with your WeatherLink app.

Because now, they can have it too! This new free app has all the same great features of the iPhone app. Now, if you are on the WeatherLink Network, you can see your weather data wherever you may roam, whether there's an iPhone or an Android in your pocket!

Even if you are not sending weather data to WeatherLink.com, you can still use the free app and add other stations from around the world.

The Android app is now available! Get it on Google Play.

Integrated Pest Management Module for Apples and Pears

Introducing another new product:Integrated Pest Management Module for Apples and Pears

Growers, we've got something else for you! After introducing the Integrated Pest Management Module for Grapes, our team of agro-meteorological wizards have released a second version of the popular WeatherLink add-on, this time for apples and pears.

The Integrated Pest Management Module takes real time weather data from your orchards and combines it with pest models to tell you just what pests (including insects, diseases, and fungi) your apple and pear crops are at risk for.

This new module predicts all kinds of nasty enemies of apples and pears, like Sooty Blotch, Cougar Blight, Apple Maggot, and Twospotted Spider Mite. (See the whole list of pests predicted on the web page. It's just too long to print here!)


Dominus Estate Gets the Jump on Grape Pests with Vantage Pro2 Plus and Integrated Pest Management Module

A plastic owl, in charge of scaring away pesky bird grape thieves, shares the Vantage Pro2 Plus mounting pole at Dominus Estate.

The beautiful Napa valley is home to Dominus Estate, a 100-plus-acre vineyard planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot grapes.

From a long line of French vintners, owner Christian Moueix is more than a grape grower. Since he founded the estate in 1983, he has worked to make it a community leader in sustainability and environmental stewardship. Conserving water, protecting the creek, passive cooling, and planting cover crops to replenish the soil and prevent erosion are just some of the steps Christian has taken to make sure that his beautiful corner of the world stays that way.

As all grape growers know, an extremely important part of grape growing is pest management. Preventing damage from pests such as insects and fungi is vital to the success of any crop.  For Dominus Estate, making sure pest control is done efficiently, safely, and sustainably is a top priority.

So the team at Dominus was very happy to see the arrival of Davis's Integrated Pest Management Module for Grapes. When they added the module to their existing WeatherLink and Vantage Pro2 Plus, they were suddenly several steps ahead of any pests that were thinking of moving into those rolling hills of grapes vines.

The Integrated Pest Management Module takes real-time weather data and compares it to the conditions that pests favor. The module includes models for every known grape pest, so Christian's team is always forewarned when conditions are approaching the ideal for specific grape pests. This allows them to take the least drastic, most environmentally and economically practical measures to prevent crop damage.

We are very happy to know that the Integrated Pest Management Module, along with the Vantage Pro2, is helping to create some blissful sipping in the future.  We say, let's all open a bottle of Dominus 2008, with the label signed by Christian Moueix himself and toast to a long, green, pest-free life for Dominus Estate!

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 1:

Some grape growers spent a good part of the winter girdling their vines. What were they doing and why would they do that?

(Click here for answers.)

This Vantage Pro2 Lives Where It's Always Sunny in March

Craig's anemometer is mounted separately on the back fence of his property..

Here's a nice shot of Craig Morris's Vantage Pro2. Can you guess where Craig lives? Note the sunny blue skies of summer -- it's Waimatuku, New Zealand.

Craig has his anemometer mounted on a pole on the back fence of his property, overlooking wide open countryside. His data, which is posted on his weather site, is appreciated by the local aero club that likes to see how the weather is in Waimatuku before they drive all the way out and find it is too blustery to fly. He says local farmers also use his data.

Although this a new "toy" for Craig, at just a month in action it has already reported wind gusts of 67 mph! It replaces "a cheaper brand" station, and so far, Craig is loving the difference. He's using WeatherLink now, but he is already planning his next purchase: WeatherLinkIP.

Thanks, Craig!

Sweaty Palms in Poland...

Another great shot from Poland, just for your sweaty-palmed entertainment. Adam Skowronski sent this dizzying WeatherLink -eye's view of one of his latest installations in Krakow. See those ants down there? Wee humans.

Tornadoes Pound US in 2012

Wally Coker's home in Clay, Alabama, was destroyed by a tornado; luckily, he and his family were safe in the basement.

Wally Coker's Vantage Pro2, formerly of the roof and yard of the house in the photo above, came way too close to an EF-3 tornado -- the same one that took Wally's Clay, Alabama, house down to the basement.

Wally wrote, "Back on April 27, the parent thunderstorm of the Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado passed directly over my home. Fortunately, it only contained a rotating wall cloud at the time, and would later drop another tornado about 2 miles northeast of my home."

But a few months later, he wasn't so lucky.

"As fate would have it, I had an even closer run in with an EF-3 Tornado in the predawn hours of January 23rd.  My home was destroyed, but we rode out the storm safely inside the basement.  My Davis Vantage Pro2 was located in the yard, and the anemometer (with remote transmitter) was mounted on the roof.  The WeatherLink receiver was in the basement.  All of the outside components of the Vantage Pro2 were blown away and I never located them." 

University of Alabama researcher and weather blogger, Dr. Tim Coleman, wrote about Wally's horrific experience in his AlabamaWX.com blog . He also charted his Vantage Pro2 data. Seeing that ominous drop in pressure is sobering.

Wally told us "his storm" details can be seen in the NOAA storm survey

"I was located just yards from the heaviest EF-3 damage on Jonathan's Way (just yards from Plymouth Rock Drive).  The 'home moved off foundation' [in the storm survey] pictures where directly across the street from my home."

Wally and his family are not the only ones to be hit by terrible tornadoes already this year. 386 tornadoes have been reported in the United States in 2012, and the NWS lists an unofficial total of 229 tornadoes, through March 21, of which 14 were EF3 and 3 were EF4. One of the largest outbreaks ever recorded occurred just a few weeks ago when 22 tornadoes tore through Illinois and Kansas, killing more than 30 people.

We thank Wally for sharing his story and his data, and are keeping him and all those who are suffering losses from tornadoes in our thoughts.

>> Back to Menu

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 2:

How wide is the average tornado? How fast do they move across the ground?

(Click here for answers.)

AnemometerWEATHER 101

Phenology Tells a Weather Story: Past, Present and Future

It's spring and the frogs are peeping, the daffodils are nodding, and the phenologists are wandering the hills and forests with clipboards in hand.

Phenology is the study of the periodic or cyclic events in nature. When does the first field sparrow appear? When does the lilac show its first buds? When does the black bear emerge from her den with her cubs in tow? When does the sap in the maple tree begin to flow? What about butterflies emerging and fish heading to spawning grounds?

The occurrence of these events tell us spring has definitely sprung. But if it seems to you that they are happening earlier rather than later, maybe you are a natural phenologist, because, yes, in many cases, they are.

Many of these events are related to the weather, especially temperature, as well as the seasonal changes in daylight hours. As climate change is bringing us warmer temps all year round, especially winters, spring phenological events are happening earlier and fall events are happening later.

Why does it matter? You farmers and gardeners would say it matters for knowing what to plant when and what pests to watch out for. But scientists will tell us that studying the interactions between organisms and the environment can be very useful for assessing the impact of climate change.

Phenology tells us that spring is, indeed, arriving 1.2 days earlier every decade. Though climate changes can be small, nature reacts to those small changes rather dramatically.

It can also be used to recreate the missing weather data of centuries past, and help predict future temperatures. For example, scientists determined that the rate of warming accelerates oak leafing. Over the past 250 years, that event has advanced by 8 days. Those 8 days correlate to an increase in average temps of 1.5C.

While Europeans 500 years ago did not leave much in the way of detailed weather data, they did leave careful histories of their grape harvests. Phenology has allowed researchers to use these records to reconstruct the summer growing seasons going back 500 years. In Japan and China, the record of dates of specific festivals go back to the 8th century. By looking at the festivals that correlate to the blossoming of cherry and peach trees, we here in 2012 can get a look at spring conditions in the year 912!

The study of phenology has this in common with the study of weather: the more observers out in the field the better the results. There are plenty of "phenology networks" to which you can add your own observations. For example, there's Project Budburst, and the North American Bird Phenology Network. If you have any young people in your life, phenology is a great way to incorporate their curiosity about the world into scientific observations.

A fifth grade teacher, Jill Dalbacka, took her class out to do some phenology observations and posted their observations on the Minnesota Phenology Network Facebook page:

Sap is running in the woods above our school. Lots of dead trees and downed branches from the winter. Spiders are starting to move around and make webs. One had a grey body with a brown patch on the back and black stripes on the legs. Bark on the trees is hard and smooth on the aspens. [One student] saw an orange and black butterfly. Lots of buds on the trees. Lots of little gray beetles on the bark of the trees. Saw a small buck with velvet antlers with 4 does and 1 fawn with him. Pussy willows are starting to come out. Pine bark is really rough. Pine sap is starting to pocket in the bark. Spring mushrooms?

We wonder if Jill's school has a weather station. Arming those kids-- kids who know how to watch spider behavior and tell if the sap flowing and understand pine bark changes -- with weather data would make for some fantastic scientific learning.

For more on phenology, check out this article on the Windows to the Universe, sponsored by the National Earth Science Teachers Association.

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 3:

True or False: Bears hibernate all winter, without eating or drinking for up to 100 days.

(Click here for answers.)

>> Back to Menu


10 Years of Vantage Pro Data Lets Students See Climate Change in Real Life

In Cambridge, NY, high school students are analyzing a decade's worth of data from the Vantage Pro mounted on Cambridge Central School's roof.

Science teacher Steve Butz asked his AP students to start compiling the data on spreadsheets after the first four years, and now, they've got a full 10-year trend that shows, guess what? It's getting warmer in Cambridge -- specifically, the winters.

We love this quote from Steve in the article in the Bennington Banner, "I think it [climate change] became a real important issue in my classes, because we weren't looking at some graph we downloaded from the internet showing the planet was heating up -- we were working with real data collected at the school, which revealed that our local climate was really getting warmer."

That's the way to bring real life science into the classroom, Steve.

You can see their data at cambridgecsd.org.

Florida Academy To Start Producing Next Generation of Weather Buffs

They are growing meteorologists out in Bartow, Florida.

The Ledger.com reported that Bartow Elementary Academy applied for the Sol Hirsch National Weather Education Grant. They not only got the $750, they were ranked number 1 of the 500 schools that applied nationwide.

They'll use the $750 to get themselves a Vantage Pro2. Then everyone at Bartow will get in on the weather action -- the first-graders will measure the temperature where it's shady, the second graders will look at soil moisture, third-graders will track dew point and air temperature, fourth-graders will use the data to analyze evapotranspiration and apply it to the irrigation of their blueberries, all while fifth-graders collect the data and compare it to readings from a nearby airport.

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 4:

If you really wanted to know how much moisture was in the air at Bartow Academy, would you be better off asking the fourth-graders to tell you the relative humidity or the third-graders to tell you the dew point?

(Click here for answers.)


Vantage Pro2s and Mowis Provide Lots of Weather Data for Austria

Edgar Treml, of Mowis GmvH in Austria, a mobile technology company, wrote to tell us that Mowis is keeping all of Austria informed about their weather.

"Mowis GmbH in Austria is proud to announce that we are now operating over 100 Davis Vantage Pro2 Pluses in Austria. In 2009, we started a project to build our own network in Austria – separate from the official network hosted by the ZAMG (the official meteorological institute of Austria)."

"Now, about two years later, we receive data from more than 100 Davis stations. This up-to-date information is fed into our database for use in the more than 120.000 forecasts we produce every day."

"More than 2.5 million people visit our web site per month, which makes us in Austria one of the top 5 viewed web sites."

Matthew's "Texas Tough" Weather Station Gets Bigger & Better

We found this story in our mailbox, from Matthew McGee.

Matthew McGee's Leaf Wetness Sensor reports to his Vantage Pro2.

"Since my article [in the Davis Weather Club E-Newsletter] back in April, 2011 ('This Vantage Pro2 is Texas Tough'), you might say I've expanded. My Vantage Pro2 had a blast in 2011. A harsh winter, brutal summer --hail, high winds, vicious storms that can trash a whole block in 10 minutes. Yet this Vantage Pro2 is still standing. Still giving me weather data. Since April the pole has gotten a makeover. She's stronger and more eye appealing. Our neighbors get to see the data on Wunderground KTXMCKIN27.

"Since last year, I've added a Wireless Leaf & Soil Moisture Station to monitor conditions in a future veggie garden. We have the sensors set up on a PVC structure with sensors soil temperature probes at 6 inches and 18 inches. The veggie garden slopes, so I buried a moisture sensor at the top and at the bottom of the slop to watch moisture variations. I also added the Agricultural/Turf Management Module to WeatherLink to help aid in growing decisions."

"I also added a Solar Radiation Sensor to monitor evapotranspiration, and to also give us an indication of sunlight intensity. I've also got the console displaying temperature and humidity from the Vue down the block as a temperature and humidity station."

"The station also is part of the CWOP program. We love being able to help the NWS better their forecasting. As stated in the Davis catalog, 'even the guys with the satellite pictures don't always get it right.'"

We have to wonder what Matthew will have NEXT April!! 

Overlooking the Blue Pacific

Last issue we told you about the installation of a Vantage Pro2 on the Point San Luis Lighthouse . We just missed getting this photo of Chris Ardnt of SLOWeather and Ken Irwin of Lighthouse Keepers installing it. It's such a beautiful photo of one our favorite Northern California spots, so we just had to sneak it in this issue.

Chris (left) and Ken (right) install a Vantage Pro2 overlooking the rocks just offshore of the San Luis Lighthouse.

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 5:

True or False: The Pacific Ocean is the earth's second largest body of water.

Extra Credit: The name Pacific comes from Tepre Pacificum, meaning peaceful sea. Who gave it that name?
a. Marco Polo
b. Vasco Nunez de Balboa
c. Ferdinand Magellan
d. James Cook

(Click here for answers.)

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 What do you think of the E-Newsletter? How can we improve? How do you use your Davis weather products? E-mail us at news@davisnet.com.


Question 1: Some grape growers spent a good part of the winter girdling their vines. What were they doing and why would they do that?

Girdling is the process of cutting an incision at the base of the vine. The incision removes the bark, phloem, and cambium from the cane. Cutting these tissues means the the carbohydrates (sugar!) can't drain down to the roots and has to stay up in the fruit.

>> Back to Menu

Question 2: How wide is the average tornado? How fast do they move across the ground?

The average width is 250 feet (76m) but they can be up to a mile wide (1.6 km).. The average forward speed is 30 mph (48 kph), but they can go 70 mph (112 kph), and can change direction as if on some evil whim.

>> Back to Menu

Question 3: True or False: Bears hibernate all the winter, without eating or drinking for up to 100 days.

That statement is half false, or if you said "true," half true. According to BearTrust International, they don't really hibernate at all, at least not the way true hibernators like bats and ground squirrels do. When a ground squirrel hibernates, it's body temperature goes all the way down to almost freezing. But for bears, it's more of a deep sleep. This means they need almost as much food energy to deep sleep in their dens all winter as they would if they were moving around. But, unlike the cold little ground squirrel, in that deep sleep, bears can go many days without eating, drinking or passing waste.

>> Back to Menu

Question 4: If you really wanted to know how much moisture was in the air at Bartow Academy, would you be better off asking the fourth-graders to tell you the relative humidity or the third-graders to tell you the dew point?

We'd go with the third-graders. Dew point is a better indicator of the amount of moisture in the air. Relative humidity can change with temperature, while dew point doesn't.

>> Back to Menu

Question 5: True or False: The Pacific Ocean is the earth's second largest body of water.

False. It is numero uno! It covers about 1/3 of the earth's surface. It is double the size of the Atlantic and contains twice the Atlantic's volume of water.

Extra Credit: The name Pacific means peaceful. Who gave it that name?
a. Marco Polo
Vasco Nunez de Balboa
c. Ferdinand Magellan
James Cook

C., Ferdinand Magellan. The Portuguese navigator named the ocean during his five-vessel Spanish-sponsored voyage to the Philippines in 1520. Marco Polo reported an ocean off Asia, but it wasn't until Balboa recognized that it was distinct from the Atlantic in 1513 that it was officially "discovered" for Europe. (Tell that to the Polynesians!) Captain Cook explored islands in the Pacific, including Hawaii, which turned out to be the last land he set foot on.

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Each month after the E-News goes out, we receive messages back. Sometimes the messages are in response to a story we shared; other times they are a request for help of some kind. We read all the emails, answer those we can, and pass the rest on to the appropriate departments. We think you should know that if you're interested in the fastest possible reply, news@davisnet.com may not be the best place to send your message. Questions about how things work should be addressed to tech support directly at support@davisnet.com. For general information about the products, contact sales@davisnet.com. To request a catalog, see the links for catalog requests on our web site at www.davisnet.com/contact/catalog.asp.

What do you think of our E-news? Please continue to send your comments, weather URLs, and story suggestions to news@davisnet.com. We look forward to getting your comments and any responses you have to the Davis E-News. Member participation is what keeps the Davis E-News alive and kicking.

Well, that's it for this edition. You'll be hearing from us again next month!
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