Tuesday, December 15, 2009

12/15/09 A GOOD GUESS


Tuesday, 8:45 AM. 0 degrees, wind WSW, light. The channel is obscured by lake smoke, and the sky is mostly overcast but clearing. The barometer predicts sunny weather. We have an inch or so of new snow, and it has been snowing lightly.
Bayfield City Hall is a nondescript old building, mostly garage space, with a few offices and a meeting room. For most purposes, it is all we need. Around the Christmas tree are Mayor Larry MacDonald and city office staff.
Pleasure boats are now all shrink-wrapped and consigned to dry land, but commercial fishing boats will cast their nets until freeze-up. I hear they are catching a lot of herring.
The “lake smoke” is steam or fog rising into the frigid atmosphere from the warmer water of the lake. It rises, often in great billows, condenses and comes down as “lake effect snow.” It is not a continual process, but seems to depend upon atmospheric humidity, wind, and probably other factors as well. I theorize that it is cyclical because when the surface water cools sufficiently it becomes heavier than the warmer water beneath it and sinks, the warmer water then rising to be cooled by evaporation, the process then repeating itself until the surface finally becomes cold enough to freeze and stop the process. Anyway it’s a good guess.