Thursday, May 8, 2008

May Gray

8.5" x 10" (approximately)
Pages from Weather (Life Science Library, 1965) and Matter (Life Science Library, 1963), hot pink enamel hobby spray paint

Note about the work: The balloon shape is not connected to the main body of the work - therefore it is "floating" off the edge.


I have been thinking about the weather a lot lately. I grew up in Santa Barbara, California. It's a place where the sun shines 300 days a year, the average high temperature is 74 degrees fahrenheit (23 degrees celsius) - with an average of 15" (96.77 centimeters) of rain a year. Some say it is paradise. It's hard to believe that I live in Berlin sometimes knowing those weather statistics....

I happen to be here in Santa Barbara this week and low and behold - the weather ain't what I just described - BECAUSE (as I had forgotten) every May and June there is "May Gray" or "June Gloom": fog in the morning and then it (eventually) burns off to reveal a bluer than blue sky in the afternoon. Although at the moment it hasn't been burning off.

So what about weather prediction? Weather balloons and radiosondes are fascinating. The radiosonde hangs from a weather balloon and is used to diagnose weather conditions by measuring atmospheric pressure, temperature, and humidity. About 800 locations around the globe do routine weather balloon releases (!) - twice daily, usually at 0000 GMT and 1200 GMT. Here in May Gray two men are about to send off a weather balloon. It seems relatively archaic (although I am sure it isn't) that a balloon is sent into the sky and the atmosphere is measured but this radiosonde contraption. Surely it is high tech but we all know that weather prediction isn't necessarily something you can depend on.

All that said, I have heard the weather in Berlin is fabulous at the moment. Hopefully it will still be like that when I return!

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