The Weather

Imbolc                                  Black Mountain Moon

                                                                            Syntax: Physic Opera


The bar at Syntax: Physic Opera. This is a bar for working artists on South Broadway in Denver. A physic opera is a medicine show and Syntax says that everything in the place is medicine. This includes a rye whiskey, cinnamon and other spices drink called Tornado Juice and homemade Cucumber Gin. Other specialty drinks of the house are Pop Skull, Taos Lightning, Snake Oil and Brain Salt.

The guns you can see in the case to the right are works of art made by a graphic artist/welder who enjoyed making unique guns. They have a distinctly steampunk look to them. There are works by other Denver artists hanging on the walls.

The Weather5280 blog brought me to Syntax. It was a meetup of folks interested in the weather, meeting to talk weather then listen to three presentations by some of the folks responsible for the blog. I had an easy 30 years on everybody there. This was a young, hipster crowd with knit hats, blue jeans and retro dresses.

During the conversation before the presentations one guy said, “My wife and I have 5 or 6 quarters just over the line in Texas.” That’s as in 5 or 6 quarters of land, each quarter defined as a mile square or section has 640 acres. “We rent it out to our cousins. They run a few cattle, some sheep. We also just put up some wind towers.” A Chinese professor talked about the inadequacy of certain weather models. A tall blonde, beautiful, was eloquent on troughs and ridges.

Mostly I was out of my depth. These were weather geeks, many of whom had studied meteorology with Sam, the professor, and Matt, Brian and Brendan, the meteorologists who write Weather5280. Sam gave a mostly incomprehensible 20 minutes on snow banding, focusing on instabilities that cause it. Incomprehensible to me, that is. Others were nodding.

The most accessible presentation of the night was Brian, the longrange forecaster for Weather5280. He used analog years and maps focused on the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PD) and the ENSO regions where El Nino and La Nina come into being. One thing he said had me nodding. “This is not a historic drought in California. Show me a drought that stretches 65 years, then I’ll call it historic. This is weather. It’s cyclical. The real problem is the number of people using the water. That’s what’s historic.”

(PDO is the blue blob between Japan and the US. The ENSO region stretches from Melanesia toward South America, most of it here is in orange.)

It was, overall, an interesting evening. After it was over, I headed out into the snow and navigated snowy roads all the way back to Shadow Mountain.