On Wednesday 17 November four of us drove north hoping for water birds but were disappointed by the lack of bird activity, particularly after the clouds moved in. Colorful leaves were scarce in Crawford County, especially at Conneaut Outlet swamp where high water killed the trees. This scene says “November in western Pennsylvania.”
On 18 November I saw a pigeon feeding two babies at its nest on Filmore Street near the Cathedral of Learning. Yes, nesting in November! Feral rock pigeons (Columba livia) breed year round if there’s enough food — and there is at this pile of birdseed on the corner.
As expected the partial lunar eclipse was obscured by clouds in Pittsburgh at 4am on 19 November. Only a tiny bright uneclipsed sliver is visible. The clouds are lit from below by the city lights.
More leaves fell this week but most of the trees are not yet bare. Here’s a week’s worth of change at Schenley Park, 12 and 19 November.
The leaves are hanging on about two weeks longer than they used to. When will most of the trees be bare in Pittsburgh? Soon.
This week’s weather was mild with highs up to 65oF and most lows above freezing until this morning. Not so seven years ago.
For three days in mid November 2014 a winter storm hammered the Great Lakes and brought unusually cold weather to western Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh was very cold without much snow but there was an amazing storm in Buffalo, New York. Here are two vintage articles that tell the story.
Why pink? The Guardian explains, “During a total lunar eclipse, when the moon is in the Earth’s shadow, the only light reaching the moon passes through the Earth’s atmosphere. That produces a red tinge, or a deeper red colour after big dirty volcanic eruptions.”
The eclipse will happen at the same time everywhere (UTC) but local time will differ. In Pittsburgh the eclipse will end just before sunrise and then the moon will set.
Will we see the moon turn pink in Pittsburgh? Not well, if at all. In this century the 19th of November has been cloudy 75% of the time. Friday’s forecast says sky cover will be 50% at 4am. Check Pittsburgh’s Clear Sky Chart on Thursday 18 Nov before you set your alarm.
When Daylight Saving Time ends tonight our time zone will move one hour closer to Zulu Time.
Zulu (Z) Time is the aviation and military name for Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Wikipedia explains that back in 1950, when time zones were identified by successive letters of the alphabet, the Greenwich time zone was marked by a Z as the point of origin. Z in the military alphabet is called “Zulu.” Z time = GMT = UTC.
Pilots use Zulu Time for navigation described in the video below. The internet and your cellphone use Z time behind the scenes.
Time Zones around the world are a patchwork based on local laws. Most of the world does not participate in DST though more than half of the world used to. This morning’s screenshot from timeandate.com (6 November 2021, 4:45 EDT) will look different in North America tomorrow morning. Click here to see how the colors changed in North America on 11 Nov 2021.
I’m not a fan of changing the clocks and wouldn’t mind if we changed them tonight and never changed again. 🙂
This week clear skies and thin cirrus clouds produced optical phenomena in the sky.
On 3 November the waning crescent moon rose just before sunrise, reminding me of the upside down rainbow I saw two days before.
On Monday afternoon the sky had a thin skim of icy cirrus clouds and contrails that did not obscure the sun but allowed its light to create arcs and sundogs. This was the first time I’ve ever seen an upside down rainbow, the rare circumzenithal arc.
When the sun is low, arcs curve away [from it]. The circumzenithal arc, one of the most colorful of the ice-crystal phenomena, is always seen high in the sky. Its curve is centered on the zenith, and it is seen only when the sun is within 18-26 of the horizon.
Here are two photos of the arc at 4:22pm, 1 Nov 2021.
Twenty minutes later the arc was gone but sundogs appeared as bright spots to the left and right of the sun. In this photo from Schenley Park Golf Course, one sundog is accentuated by a contrail. Downtown Pittsburgh is in the distance.
This morning Pittsburgh’s official temperature dipped to 28 degrees F at 5:51am at Pittsburgh International Airport(*) and 27 degrees an hour later. This is long enough and low enough(**) to be the first killing frost of the winter.
However, we still haven’t had a killing frost in some parts of Pittsburgh. Where I live in Oakland the low was only 31 and at the Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin, 6.5 miles south of me, the temperature dropped briefly to 30, then rose to a steady 31.
Did we have a killing frost?
If you live in suburbs your garden died this morning. If you live in the city it may be fine except for very tender plants.
Yesterday evening around 6pm rain obscured the northeastern horizon — Larimer, East Liberty and Shadyside. Eventually the cloud moved over us and dropped white pellets that clicked on the windows and bounced off the windowsills. There was no storm, just a dark cloud that ought to have been raining — except it wasn’t wet.
Was it hail? Was it sleet? Was it graupel?
I wasn’t outdoors to examine the pellets — they melted almost instantly — but I thought of graupel, also called snow pellets, because it was seven years ago this month (4 Oct 2014) that I first saw and wrote about it: Graupeling.
Did any of you see yesterday’s icy precipitation in the East End? What was it?
The National Weather Service has a helpful chart.
(photo from Wikimedia Commons, chart from the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh)
It’s been three and a half weeks since the September equinox and every day is shorter than the last. Sunrise draws attention because it’s later every day. On Thursday the sky turned red before the sun appeared.
In the half light after sunset Morela prepared to roost.
The days are the same length as in late February during peregrine courtship. Morela and Ecco visited the nest as if they are thinking of spring.
Meanwhile most plants and trees have set fruit, including this streetside Callery pear.
And in Downtown Pittsburgh I found a directional message on our tallest building.