Wednesday, December 30, 2015

White Christmas...in LA

November through December is a busy time of year for professional and personal reasons.

AGU's Fall Meeting is a professional highlight and capstone to each year, but preparing for it is stressful. I don't know why I thought it was a good idea to present my work to both the Geoinformatics and Education communities in different sessions.
With nearly 24,000 attendees, AGU Fall Meeting is the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world.
With 24,000 attendees, it's necessary to get over FOMO (fear of missing out). There is too much going on and you will always hear about some great talk or poster session after it has happened.

The large number of attendees meant that it was a great time to hold multi-agency meetings and get sh*t done.

I had some fruitful discussions with colleagues from NOAA, NASA and the Air Force lab I used to work at. This resulted in some much-needed ego-stroking ("I really like/respect what you are doing.") and even more work ("But could you also do this/that?").

This Spring, I will be giving an internal WIP (work in progress) talk, teaching "Data thinking before data crunching" at a Big Data workshop for graduate students, and helping to design/write a "Best practices for data stewardship" framework/document for data professionals.

This is in addition to my normal job duties.

After AGU, Bad Dad and DD usually drive from LA to SF for a weekend in SF and a few days with my mom.  This year, we had the added excitement of a hit and run driver hitting our Prius just after Bad Dad dropped DD and their luggage off at the hotel in downtown SF.

Fortunately, no one was hurt besides our car (damage 80% of resale value of our car).  Through the help of insurance and the amount we received for selling the car for scrap, we have a 2016 Prius V (station wagon).  Yes, we bought a car while we were on vacation so we could drive home.

My mom needed/wanted a new computer and phone.  So we added helping her purchase and set up a MB Air and iPhone to our to do list.  I'm so impressed with how quickly she was comfortable with the iPhone.

She said it was familiar because she took an iPad class when she bought one years ago and read the iPad for Seniors book the teacher recommended.  I'm going to look for a similar book for the iPhone and Mac OS X.

This is a long explanation for why I haven't sent out year end/xmas cards yet.  If I send something out between the Jewish and Lunar New Year, our holiday cards are on time.

A friend mentioned experiencing a 64 F Christmas day in Boston.  It may have been balmy in the northeast, but Los Angeles had a white Christmas.  Proof.

Snow seen on the southbound "Grapevine" section of I-5 between the central valley and Los Angeles.
A few times in the last 20 years, we have woken up in our Redondo Beach home to see the snow-capped San Gabriel mountains from our north-facing windows.  We drove home after the rain/snow.  But there was enough snow on "the Grapevine", the pass between the central valley and Santa Clarita valley (in LA county) to suggest we missed that pretty sight.

We saw plenty of snow on the north-facing slopes, even inside the Los Angeles county line.
The view right after passing the "County of Los Angeles" sign.

A colleague who studies waves said that mid-latitude quasi-stationary waves have a wave length that often result in anti-correlation between the east and west coasts of the US. That is, when one coast is hot, the other is cold, and vice versa. The hot/cold anomalies will see-saw between the coasts.

With climate change due to a melting arctic ice cap, this kind of behavior is expected to be more stationary. That is, the waves will see-saw less often and set up semi-permanently a la "the ridiculously resilient ridge". Scary food for thought.

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