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Articles written by Bob Valen

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 By Bob Valen    Opinion    June 5, 2019

Does it really rain plastic?

The short answer to the headline – yes, it does rain plastic. Take a look around, plastic is everywhere. It’s in our everyday lives; it is, in fact, omnipresent. It is in our rain too. Plastic is...

 
 By Bob Valen    Opinion    May 15, 2019

Climate change, tree rings and us

Climate change, tree rings and us Like a book of factual history, tree rings are the annual chapters of a tree’s life. Through the eyes of a trained professional, tree rings tell the real story of... Full story

 
 By Bob Valen    Opinion    May 8, 2019

Test election candidates for competence

In every stage of life we go through, there seems to be some type of test. We all faced the required tests that 12 years in school presented. There was a variety of tests for those who spent time in...

 
 By Bob Valen    Opinion    April 10, 2019

Let's hear it for evapotranspiration!

We just witnessed an event that is part of the Water Cycle on our home planet — snow melt. Though the quick disappearance of snow is not fully attributed to melt-off. There are other events going...

 
 By Bob Valen    Opinion    March 6, 2019

Really, spring will arrive, really

With all the snow occupying our landscape, it’s hard to image spring at all. Be assured that it will arrive; in fact, March 20 will bring vernal, or spring, equinox. It’s that point in time that...

 
 By Bob Valen    News    February 6, 2019

Look, up in the sky, it's a polar vortex!

It caused a great uproar in the news media and with those living in parts of Canada and the U.S. The Upper Midwest felt the effects of the ever-present Polar Vortex. TV news reporters stood outside...

 
 By Bob Valen    Opinion    January 16, 2019

The year in weather – 2018

I’ve lost track of how many years I’ve been writing this monthly column about our weather, and climate and related issues and events. One thing I do like — and I admit I’m a bit of a...

 
 By Bob Valen    News    December 5, 2018

What's your winter favorite - ice or snow?

Each of us can recall severe storms we’ve lived through. Major thunderstorms with crashing lightning and heavy rain and hail. Wind events, not unlike some we’ve had right here in the Coulee ...

 
 By Bob Valen    Opinion    November 7, 2018

Sailing on top of the world – Part 2

In the last column, I wrote about the physical changes occurring in and around the Arctic Ocean. Those changes are occurring due to climate change. Shipping lanes are being used for commerce,...

 

Sailing on top of the world

Commerce, likely many other things, is dependent on current weather and long-term climate. Our regional wheat growers know that our climate is conducive to their work and production. The same applies... Full story

 

The trouble with historical fire comparisons

Can you feel it? That seasonal change is coming — tree leaves are starting to turn color, temperatures are dropping a little. The official day for Autumn Equinox is Sept. 22 this year. Cool, crisp...

 
 By Bob Valen    Opinion    September 5, 2018

News is like food – nutritious or junky

Morgan Spurlock, a documentary filmmaker, went on a 30-day McDonald’s fast-food diet and he ended up with health problems. He documented his feast in his film “Super-Size Me.” When we satisfy ou...

 
 By Bob Valen    Opinion    August 8, 2018

El Niño and the ENSO

In past columns I’ve talked about the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), or as some call it, the Southern Oscillation. Let me briefly review what this thing does. There are two ocean temperature...

 
 By Bob Valen    Opinion    July 3, 2018

Shimmering clouds and good wine

Last week I got an email with a photo showing a cloud that had erupted into a rainbow of color. There is a name for what happened: it’s called cloud iridescence or irisation. Some call it cloud...

 
 By Bob Valen    Opinion    June 6, 2018

Let's hear it for our oceans!

Let’s start off with some facts about our oceans: The Earth’s oceans cover 71 percent of its surface and contain 97 percent of the Earth’s water. Less than 1 percent of the Earth’s water is...

 
 By Bob Valen    Opinion    May 16, 2018

The Climate Divide is changing

In 1878, John Wesley Powell, solider, geologist, explore and professor, placed an imaginary longitudinal line on a map based on his exploration observations. That line, he explained, represented the...

 
 By Bob Valen    News    April 18, 2018

This cool, damp weather will change, really

Yep, I’ve heard the comments: “When will it warm up; when will it stop raining?” It will, really. This spring seems to be similar to last year’s in some ways — cool and damp. Given where we...

 
 By Bob Valen    Opinion    February 7, 2018

January sputters with odd weather

Winter months are great for offering up some reading time. We all find that comfortable, well-lit spot, a drink (your choice) and a great book — maybe some great music, too. My personal interests...

 
 By Bob Valen    Opinion    January 3, 2018

Winter Solstice has passed - now more daylight

With the passage of Winter Solstice, we will start gaining more daylight. It’s not that noticeable; it’s measured initially in about one minute each day, and that’s at sunset. When we arrive at...

 
 By Bob Valen    Opinion    December 13, 2017

And the snow fell, a little

Early November teased us a little bit with measurable snowfall that apparently has stalled. Not to worry, ski fans and snow junkies, it will snow again. I spent some time looking at what winter may...

 
 By Bob Valen    News    November 8, 2017

Do we really know our air quality?

Air quality alerts are common in many regions of the world. The United States experiences air quality alerts regularly too. The causes are wide ranging and many are seasonal in nature. Of concern in...

 
 By Bob Valen    News    October 11, 2017

What will winter bring?

I’ve licked my finger, held it up to the air; now I can tell you what winter will bring. If only it were that simple! So, let me share what is being stated by our federal agencies that work in the arena of weather prediction. First, let’s take a...

 
 By Bob Valen    News    September 6, 2017

Is drought development likely?

It’s looking like we may be starting a long dance with drought — maybe. It’s still a bit too early to call it a long-term drought. As we enter into fall and then early winter we should have a better understanding. Looking at the North America...

 
 By Bob Valen    News    August 16, 2017

Today, the sky will darken ominously!

With the impending solar eclipse very close, it's nice to know the science of what is happening; humanity doesn't react to the old mythologies that surrounded past solar or lunar eclipse events. The s...

 
 By Bob Valen    News    August 16, 2017

This dehydrated July was one of very few

You can almost hear the ground gasping with a slow, agonizing, parched voice, pleading for some water. A bit dramatic, I guess. Certainly, it has been dry around and in the Coulee. There were some recent isolated showers here and there, nothing to...

 

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