As my colleagues from Fortress were packing up their snow boots, I was packing away my sunscreen. During our last major precipitation event on June 21st, we received over 19.0 mm of precipitation in less than 12 hours at Nipika. However, once the storm subsided at our site, we were basking in summer conditions, watching the hot sun chase away vestiges of cloud. Meanwhile, our colleagues at the other site continued to battle snowstorms. For me, this only highlighted the vital importance of studying weather on both side of the continental divide.
After the storms dissipated, I returned to Prince George to try to organize and compartmentalize the treasure trove of meteorological information that we had accumulated during the two months of the SPADE field season. Having unplugged the stream of meteorological data, we had to improve its universality; increasing our ability to share it with the rest of the world. Part of this process involved filling in missing time-stamps, cleaning off electronic errors, and removing the peculiar measurements that result from electronics being re-programmed. I also created documents that would give others the ability to comprehend the endless strings of numbers that we had created.
Having witnessed the beauty of orographic precipitation for two months, I have set about studying it. My pile of papers has steadily grown, crawling across the desk of my office, swallowing small books, and bits of stationary. I have also been collecting weather station data from various places in British Columbia and Alberta. I am hoarding it in various crevices of my computer, and incubating it for a beautiful metamorphosis in the near future, a confluence of different data streams that will enrich our understanding precipitation gradients over the continental divide.
While working on this bigger project, I have been graphing information that I collected from a precipitation gauge transect on the Cross Resource Road. Currently, I am examining potential relationships between wind direction and precipitation rates. In the first image below, the graph on the upper left depicts average daily wind direction during a precipitation event and the graph on the lower right depicts cumulative precipitation amounts between May 12th and June 23rd, 2019, at four different sites near the continental divide.
I miss the SPADE field season, my kind colleagues, and their lively intellect. Excellent collaboration arose in response to inclement weather and unruly weather instruments. My favourite SPADE picture is emblematic of our comradery, a good conversation in the middle of a long day of weather observations.