phenology fi-ˈnä-lə-jē n 1 : a branch of science dealing with the relations between climate and periodic biological phenomena (such as bird migration or plant flowering) 2: periodic biological phenomena that are correlated with climatic conditions.
Waiting for the Rain
Throughout this month of October, I’ve been curious about the rain. Where is it? I’ve lived here for over 20 years and this lack of rain feels very odd. I don’t always trust my memory, so I decided to do a bit of sleuthing and try to get a sense of how weird this is actually.
After searching the web for a tool that would help me understand this history, I finally found a site with a graph that let’s me look at daily precipitation data at the Port Angeles Airport, and easily toggle between years. Thank you, weatherspark.com!
First off, here is an image of daily rain in 2022 through October 14. You’ll see the rains that lingered through the spring, as well as the long stretch without precipitation in recent months.
I then asked myself, how does this compare to recent years. Here is the same information for the past five years.
These graphs were a good reminder of recent years, as well as led me to note that while fall dry spells are normal, this year seem different in that by this point in mid-October there has recently been at least some measurable rain.
On weatherspark.com, I kept going back to 2007 and found that almost every year we’ve had some real rain (which I’m arbitrarily calling .25 inches in a day) by this point, with the exception of 2017, when there wasn’t real rain until mid-October.
My curiosity sated, and noting that I’m not a climatologist, I feel like I can conclude that:
1. Yes, this fall and been unseasonable dry, but not unique.
2. I am grateful there are tools on the web we can turn to for quality data on weather trends
3. I am reaffirmed that one instance of weather is interesting, but that only by looking at trends over time can we really build our understanding of climate and how things are changing.
As of today, the weather report suggests that some rain will begin in earnest on Friday, October 21. I have to admit, I’m ready!
What questions do you have about this amazing place? Ask away, please let us know and we’ll do our best to learn with you!