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City, Science

Next Week in Montreal: Winter?

Posted by Robyn / October 14, 2005

Oh, I can feeeel it in the air toniiight. Oh, yeah. There's something about the brevity of Fall here that makes my senses Xtra ALIVE, like that new cinnamon gum does, but without the burning. We've got falling leaves that aren't yet decomposing, rain that's usually just drizzle, and the ultimate in Fall: sunny days replete with crisp air that leaves you just cold enough to have an excuse for drinking rye before the sun goes down. And how long does it last? Like, maybe three weeks?

I've got a bit of a weather thing. Not a "CBC radio call-in show hahaha isn't it delightful that Canadians love to talk about the weather? hahaha, gee!" thing. Well, I hope not. I mean, look at this. It's just beautiful. Maps and tables and online data models, colour-coded, predicting up to 12 months of Cdn weather action. Right now they indicate that Montreal, and most of the country in fact, is experiencing Above Normal conditions. I love Above Normal. Not alienated genius, but putting in extra effort, surpassing expectations, bringing a smile to our doting faces. Someone deserves an ice-cream cone. Way to go, Canadian Climate!

And I've been doing "research" that tells me that (at least some of) this winter won't be like the last three. Just like the last 30 days as indicated by Environment Canada, parts of this winter may also be Above Normal. Heresy? Bogus pseudo-science? Weather prediction gives us hope for the very-short-term future. Maybe it's a lot like horoscopes in that way. Today's high will be 4 and authority figures may not agree with your methods. You can prepare for that, but if it doesn't happen, that's okay too, just don't forget your gloves and your fight face.

Wait wait wait. But Meteorology - it's a science. That's why it ends in -ology. The best thing about this science is that it's about CHAOS. It's the noizemetal of science. It's post-structualism with buttons and lights and measuring devices. Somewhere in there, there are patterns of meaning even if they are really really hard to catch. And in Canada, it's all going down in MSC headquarters in where? In Dorval, QC. Yes, you can even get there on public transit! Okay, it's on some service road off the 404, so you'll probably have to walk a lot, but still though, it's nice to know that the centre of weather math-magic is so close by.

But let's not lose sight of the bigger picture. The weather game is about more than just forecasts, it's about Understanding Our World and pointing sticks at topographical maps. An actual question from the Environment Canada website FAQ: "I heard that Environment Canada had modified the way it determines wind chill. Where can I go to know more about it?" All you ever wanted to know about wind chill ever, they tell you. I read it all during my first winter here when I mistook my ears for something you'd throw in a blender drink, after walking all of 5 minutes to the metro. It's like information really can keep you warm at night. If winter nights didn't dip below -10 C. See the also fascinating answers to: "What is 'relative humidity'?" And "What is the Probability of Precipitation, or POP?" Ah, POP. My FAQ for Env Canada: "Where can I go to know more about cloning solar-powered electro-sheep (for my superwool sock scheme) that will also go out and get a second job to pay my hydro bill?" Can you tell me, Environment Canada, can you make it happen? Or at least make a chart indicating its likelihood? That would be cool, high of 8, low of 3.

Next in weather: Halloween - Sexy Freezing Deathmaiden or Ghoulish Comfortably-Warm Fanged-Beast? The Slutty Costume Debate.



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