Wednesday, December 19, 2012

On the topic of Snowstorms

The talk today hereabouts is all about the snowstorm headed our way, expected to arrive tonight after midnight.  The weather forecasters predict we'll be seeing anywhere from 12-17 inches of snowfall and high winds.  It's gotten us thinking about the phenomenon of snow and particularly snowstorms that bring large amounts of snow rapidly.

Snow is defined as precipitation in the form of flakes of crystalline water ice that falls from clouds.  Now what differentiates snowfall from a storm or a blizzard?  The difference between a blizzard and a snowstorm is the strength of the wind.  To be considered a blizzard the storm must have sustained gusts of wind in excess of 35 mph with blowing or drifting snow that impedes visibility to a quarter mile for a sustained period of time, typically 3 hours.   It appears we might be expecting a blizzard here in Madison.

Recently discovered was the online Wind Map, a personal art project that translates wind speeds and directions into a mesmerizing image.  Here's the current map of the wind patterns accompanying the winter storm headed our way.

Some weather related resources for tracking snowstorms:

Consult the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service online updates here

The National Weather Service's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center offers "Snowfall Probability Forecasts" updates available here

View the Wind Map, a mesmerizing way to visualize current wind movements here

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Video Review: Green Fire (Aldo Leopold And A Land Ethic For Our Time)

The legacy of conversationalist Aldo Leopold is the subject of the documentary Green Fire: Aldo Leopold And A Land Ethic For Our Time.  Conceived as a partnership between The Aldo Leopold Foundation, U.S. Forest Service, and The Center for Humans and Nature, the film highlights Leopold's extraordinary career and explains how he helped shape conservation and the modern environmental movement.  Leopolds's continuing influence is revealed as current projects throughout the United States are considered.   The film introduces us to a number of this present day examples of Leopold's legacy; for example, urban children in Chicago learning about local foods and ecological restoration,  responsible ranchers who demonstrate land stewardship in New Mexico and Arizona, and wildlife biologists who returning threatened and endangered species back to their their native landscapes.

If you are a Wisconsin resident and would like to check out this or any other book, please fill out our book request form. If you are a UW student, faculty or staff, please request books through the Library Catalog.

Watch the extended (13:29) trailer here
Official movie website here 
Visit The Aldo Leopold Organization's website here
More materials on Aldo Leopold are available at the Wisconsin's Water Library including:
Aldo Leopold: Protector of the Wild
Aldo Leopold's Odyssey
Correction Lines: Essays on Land, Leopold, and Conservation

Monday, December 10, 2012

Wisconsin Leads Great Lakes States on Scorecard

Wisconsin scored the highest ranking amongst fellow Great Lakes region states in a report that evaluates water efficiency.  Wisconsin scored highest with a B-, while Minnesota received a C+, New York a C, both Illinois and Indiana a C-, and Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania all tied for the lowest score of a D.  The Water Efficiency and Conservation State Scorecard: An Assessment of Laws and Policies is published by the Alliance for Water Efficiency, a non-profit group, and the Environmental Law Institute, a legal consulting firm.

The report's introduction states, "The intention behind adding the report and assigning grades is to create concise and useful information, and to bring attention to exemplary policies that may be used as models for other states to emulate."  According to the report, "Wisconsin received top points for their broadly applicable water conservation planning requirements" and goes on to conclude that Wisconsin "represents how water conservation planning can vary by source; Wisconsin has one generally applicable planning process for public water suppliers, and another planning process only applicable to large withdrawers from the Great Lakes Basin."  Wisconsin was granted high marks for the access to technical assistance provided as well as its water conservation planning. 

Certainly Wisconsin's success is worth mentioning, but fellow Great Lakes states who share the region's water resources may be more cause for pause and redoubling of our efforts to strive together to improve our collective scores. 

Read the entire The Water Efficiency and Conservation State Scorecard here

Thursday, December 6, 2012

New Water @ UW-Madison Website

This week saw the launch of a new website devoted to highlight UW-Madison's water related research, community, history, and resources:  

As the home page states "UW-Madison hosts a stunningly wide range of research, educational, and outreach activities related to water and water resources. These activities are distributed across the UW-Madison campus and beyond. Although there are many bridges between faculty, staff, and students with water interests, there is no formal coordination of activities. In response, we’ve developed this website..."

Take a moment to explore the website and all are encouraged to tell us what you think:

Special thanks to Wisconsin's Water Library's Anne Moser for her hard work on creating this useful resource.