Friday, April 26, 2013

Wetness & Spring Transformations - April 2013

April 7, 2013
Jefferson National Forest
Birch Knob of Pine Mountain
Sunrise Above A Sea Of Mountain Ridges
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

( NW Mountain Flank of the Cumberland Overthrust Block )

A High Dynamic Range ( HDR ) photograph taken by Roddy in early April illustrates the majesty of a chilly spring morning from the highest viewing point in Dickenson County.

The Great Cumberland Overthrust Block

Rod Addington Photography

A high resolution photograph of the same sunrise was taken by Wayne Riner along the southeastern flank of the Cumberland Block.

April 7, 2013
Wind Twisted Oaks On Long Ridge
 Bare Trees Against Morning Sunrise
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

( SE Mountain Flank of the Cumberland Overthrust Block )

Wayne Riner Photograph Thoughts...
"These old oaks will soon be covered with leaves due to the upcoming warmer weather and rain."

Big gnarly oaks bent against the wind demand respect for age, endurance, and pure majesty as large, prominent features of the floral landscape 
of planet Earth.

Plants, like these great oaks, know without "thought" that all creatures great and small must have roots that run deeply into something bigger than themselves or otherwise be tossed to and fro in chaos 
by the winds of life.

Surely the most intelligent creature 
on Earth can understand?

                                Please Support Your PBSBlue Ridge PBS )

Plants release chemicals known as volatiles that play important and amazing roles in the way they talk and interact with each other.

Justin Runyon, a friend and former Virginia resident and graduate of the University of Virginia's College in Wise, is a Research Entomologist for the U.S. Forest Service.

Although not getting the credit and on-air time in What Plants Talk About, Justin did all the research on Dodder ( Cuscuta pentagona ) that marked a turning point in understanding plant communications ( thank you Justin for this great work! ). 

Volatile Chemical Cues Guide Host Location-Selection PDF

Dr. Justin Runyon - Research Entomologist

Wetness Feeds A Glorious 
Spring Rebirth In 2013

April 17, 2013
Powell River Valley of Lee County
Flooding Near Pennington Gap
Photograph by Rodney Parsons - © All Rights Reserved.

The High Knob Landform

Abundant rainfall during the April 1-26 period, with widespread 4.00" to 7.00"+ totals reported from the City of Norton and Town of Appalachia southwest along the High Knob Landform, has supported a wondrous transformation into Spring!

April 17, 2013
Powell Valley of High Knob Massif
Abundant Moisture Feeds Emergence Of Spring
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

I have and will forever be fascinated by the way colors of emerging early-mid spring vegetation mimics autumn in reverse amid these
ancient Appalachians!

April 17, 2013
( Lower Elevations )
Remnant Massif of High Knob Landform
Colors Of Diverse Early-Mid Spring Forest
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Colors begin at the bottom and work upward in elevation over time during spring, as leaf growth increases toward summer maturity and 
a maximum in productivity ( * ).

*Color changes begin at the top and work downward in elevation over time during autumn, as leaf productivity decreases into senescence and winter dormancy.

My friend Addison Stallard wrote 
beautifully about this many years ago:

HKL Spring Differences: Elevation + Latitude

April 17, 2013
Head of Powell Valley of High Knob Massif
Spring Transformations In The Vertical
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Spring ephemerals take advantage of high light, low leaf density of early-mid spring to flourish amid these spectacular mountain forests ( ** ).

**Blooming extending into late spring at upper elevations and cooler mountain drainages.

Glorious Spring Renewal ( Spring Ephemerals )

April 17, 2013
Lower to Middle Elevations of Massif
Wild Geranium ( Geranium spp. ) In Bloom
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

My friends Roddy Addington & Bill Harris both won first place ( out of 5 dozen entries ) with photos taken at the recent Cumberland Falls Nature Photo Workshop & Competition.

April 2013
Fire PinkSilene virginica )
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.

My friends Wayne & Genevie Riner recently captured a pair of gorgeous Zebra Swallowtails

Zebra Swallowtail ( Protographium marcellus )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Wayne Riner Photograph Thoughts...
"This butterfly's distinctive wing shape and long tails make it easy to identify, and its black and white-striped pattern is reminiscent of a zebra. 
The butterflies are closely associated with pawpaws, and are rarely found far from these trees."

Climate Statistics
For April 2013

( Lower Elevations of Russell Fork Basin )
Clintwood 1 W - Elevation 1560 feet
Average Daily MAX: 67.2 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 36.1 degrees
MEAN: 51.6 degrees
Highest Temperature: 86 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 22 degrees
April Rainfall: 4.65"
2013 Precipitation: 18.25"

( Northern Base of High Knob Massif )
City of Norton - Elevation 2141 feet
Average Daily MAX: 62.9 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 35.5 degrees
MEAN: 49.2 degrees
Highest Temperature: 80 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 21 degrees
April Rainfall: 5.56"
2013 Precipitation: 24.34"

( Along the Tennessee Valley Divide )
Nora 4 SSE - Elevation 2650 feet
Average Daily MAX: 61.5 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 41.9 degrees
MEAN: 51.7 degrees
Highest Temperature: 78 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 26 degrees
April Rainfall: 4.92"
2013 Precipitation: 19.28"

April featured near average temperatures, above average rainfall, and below average snowfall.

In the High Knob Massif temps during April varied from middle 50s by day at highest elevations to mid 30s to around 40 degrees at night ( low-mid 30s in coldest valleys of the 2400-3500 foot zone ).

Rainfall was abundant with a general 6.00" to 7.00"+ across upper elevations in the massif 
( local totals to around 8.00" fell upon portions 
of the High Knob Landform in Lee County ).

April 21, 2013
White Rocks of Cumberland Mountain
Spring In The Powell River Valley of Lee County
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

April wetness continued the trend established during March.

Robinson Knob of High Knob Massif
Days With Measurable Precipitation
Observers: Otis & Nancy Ward
Elevation 3240 feet

March-April 2013

03/01:  0.23"
03/02:  0.12"
03/03:  0.16"

03/06:  1.70"

03/12:  0.91"

03/16:  0.19"
03/17:  0.20"

03/19:  1.38"

03/24:  0.23"
03/25:  0.95"
03/26:  0.40"
03/27:  0.08"

03/30:  0.46"

04/01:  0.15"

04/05:  0.74"

04/12:  0.96"

04/15:  0.25"

04/17:  0.81"
04/18:  0.70"

04/20:  1.08"

04/25:  0.22"

04/28:  0.68"
04/29:  0.37"
04/30:  0.19"

March-April Total: 13.16"

April 13, 2013
Beautiful Moth Species Adds Extra Touch To
Large-Flowered Trillium ( Trillium grandiflorum )

Gary Hampton & staff measured 14.36" of precipitation at Big Cherry Dam during March-April, which implied more than 15.00" of water equivalent precip fell in wettest portions of mid-upper Big Cherry Basin ( head of South Fork of Powell River ) where March snowfall was heaviest.

Monthly Precipitation Totals
Big Cherry Dam of High Knob Massif
Observer: Gary Hampton & Staff
Elevation 3120 feet

December: 7.00"

January: 11.24"

February: 2.87"

March: 7.65"

April: 6.71"

2013 Total: 28.47" ( M )

Total Since December 1: 35.47" ( M )

December-April Average per Month: 7.09"
( 0.55" above 6-year December-April Average of 6.54" per month )

( M ) - An estimated 1.25" to 1.50" of missing moisture in falls of snow too deep for the rain gauge to contain during the period
( most of this loss occurred in January-March ).

Red-spotted Newt ( Notophthalmus viridescens )