My New Cubicle

Thanks to the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Port of Olympia for providing me with my new deluxe office space. This site was declared a hazardous waste site in the 1980s, after decades of soil contamination by Cascade Pole Company and others in the business of loading up utlility poles and railroad ties with toxic preservatives. It has now been remediated, capped, and turned into a waterfront park(ing lot). My office comes equipped with three chairs, a writing desk, living shag carpeting, air conditioning, ample parking, views of Budd Inlet, and unlimited free clouds.

Because a roof was extra, this is my fair-weather office, where I hope to discover and observe a cloud-spawning zone--a place where the local topography, water, and winds conspire to produce relatively regular types of clouds and cloud formations. I have just learned about such a zone from Art Rangno, professor emeritus of UW's Department of Atmospheric Sciences. From the department's rooftop in Seattle years ago, Art noticed recurring clouds streets (parallel rows of clouds) created by stratocumulus and cumulus clouds rising over and upwind of Capitol Hill. He has 3,493 photographs to prove it!

From my frequent visits to Tumwater Hill Park, I have a hunch there is such a zone over the Black Hills where low stratus (?) and stratocumulus (?) seem to pour eastward over the hills from the west. It will take me some time to map this out; Mud Bay and Black Lake may be involved. So may be the exhalations of the metal cattle sculptures along Highway 101. Observing such a local pattern will require planning regular observations and being still for more than five minutes at a time. This will be a challenge for me. This is good.