Due to the continuous overcast, we have been unable to take any solar position measurements this winter. The continuous weather conditions, overcast skies, high fog and rain have obscured any view of the sun rising or setting or any shadows for measuring. In the past 2 months, I have only seen the sun from sunrise to sunset on two days. This is due to the increased moisture in the air from melting polar ice forming fog, clouds and increased precipitation. I have never seen so many overcast or high fog skies since I lived in California. It was normal to only see the sun in northern California between 11am and 4pm in the summer dry season and rarely any sun in the winter during the rainy season. However, this is not normal for northern Texas. Our shift in axis position has affected all of us in one way or another. Only those of us who have been around for a few decades notice the significant difference with how the weather was 30 to 50 years ago as compared to the weather of the past 10 years.
I suspected we would have a problem obtaining the measurements this winter because of the constant overcast conditions throughout the month of November. So I did not hold out any high hopes we would be successful. The high fog has been fluctuating between about 50 ft above ground in the morning to about 700 ft above ground at midday.
Unfortunately, that means we cannot obtain any measurements this winter and will have to wait for the summer solstice on June 21, 2015 for our next solar measurements.
Ironically, just as I was writing this comment, the sun decided to come out for just the 3rd time in 2 months, but still enough high fog to prevent the appearance of shadows. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help with our positional measurements since we cannot see the horizon or sun at sunrise or sunset and we are past the winter solstice on Dec 21st.
If Murphy’s Law holds true to course, I’m willing to bet the sun will be shining the entire month of January. While it would be a welcome change after the 2 solid months of overcast, that doesn’t help for calculating the measurements we needed on Dec 21st. I still believe we will see some record breaking cold weather and heavy precipitation ahead of us in January-February. So, keep your homes stocked up with food, water and blankets and your fuel tanks full and batteries just in case you find yourselves snowed in or without power during an ice storm or blizzard.