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Articles written by Bob Valen

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 By Bob Valen    Opinion    December 4, 2019

The air in our lungs

The air around us is polluted, and the level of pollution in our air varies constantly. The causes of the pollution fluctuate as well. The pollution consists of gases and particulate matter. Common...

 By Bob Valen    Opinion    November 6, 2019

Brrr, a short autumn?

Scientists have been coring glacial ice fields for some time now. One objective is to analyze the small atmospheric gas bubbles that got trapped as the ice formed. These gas bubbles contain...

 By Bob Valen    Opinion    October 9, 2019

Birds are in a decline

Not a day goes by that we don’t see them — if we’re looking. In the trees, on the ground and, of course, in the sky. They are at their most majestic when in flight. Soaring through the lower...

 By Bob Valen    News    September 25, 2019

Our summer weather for 2019

This time around we’ll be looking at the historic weather results for our summer – June, July and August and the summer of 2019. We’ll also take a look-see at what is being predicted for our...


Let's start paying for drug policy that works

The recent discussion about a new jail for Grant County, illegal drug use and the criminal actions created by drug users, focused my attention on a policy issue that the nation needs to be talking...

 By Bob Valen    Opinion    August 7, 2019

Arctic peatland fires affect us

As global temperatures rise (June 2019 was the hottest June ever recorded) they tend to sustain wildfires. Earlier this summer, in June and July, hundreds of long-lived, intense wildfires burned...

 By Bob Valen    Opinion    July 17, 2019

Pacific coral reefs recorded El Niño events

It seems we are stumbling along with a mix of Spring and Summer weather. Cloudy days, spats of rain and temperatures going up and down. We’ll get to the June weather data later. Many scientists...

 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...


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