Monday, January 27, 2014

Episode 198 (1-27-14): Hydrologists Sing and Study "Where Does the Water Go?"

Click to listen to episode (2:44)

TRANSCRIPT

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of January 27, 2014.

This week, we feature music about the mysteries of hydrology, in a light-hearted song by two Virginia Tech graduate students and a visiting scholar from Italy.  Have a listen for about 35 seconds.

MUSIC


You’ve been listening to part of “Where Does the Water Go,” performed by J.P. Gannon, Paolo Benettin, and Kris Brown.  The term “hydrology” refers to the location and movement of the earth’s water, as well as to the scientific study of those topics.  Hydrologists seek to describe in detail the water cycle, also called the hydrologic cycle.  To do so, they concentrate on pathways of water movement, the timing of that movement, and storage of water at different locations for various amounts of time.  One key part of this work is understanding how surface waters— lakes, streams, and rivers—are connected to groundwater.  For example, our singers’ plaintive cries of “macropores” refer to spaces in soil and sediments that influence groundwater flow, including its movement into and out of streams.  Because of this and many other factors, hydrology’s complicated, and hydrologists have to work hard to learn how, when, and where does the water go.  Thanks to Virginia Tech’s musical hydrologists for permission to use this week’s song.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

SHOW NOTES

[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 1/27/14]

The science of hydrology seeks to understand and describe water location and movement in dry and wet times.  Top photo: Dry River at Lilly in Rockingham County, Va., Nov. 25, 2007; bottom photo: the same stream and view on December 30, 2007.

Acknowledgments: This week’s song lyrics were written by Virginia Tech graduate student J.P. Gannon and visiting Italian scholar Paolo Benettin.  The audio excerpt was from a November 22, 2013, video recording of them and Virginia Tech graduate student Kris Brown; used with permission.  Thanks to Kevin McGuire, Virginia Water Resources Research Center, for information on the fundamentals of hydrology.

Sources: Information about hydrology and current research issues in the science was taken from the following sources:
*Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, “Introduction to Hydrology,” online at http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3313_3684_3724-9352--,00.html;
*U.S. Geological Survey, “Science in Your Watershed/General Introduction and Hydrologic Definitions,” online at http://water.usgs.gov/wsc/glossary.html;
*University of Virginia Department of Environmental Sciences, “Research/Hydrology,” online at http://www.evsc.virginia.edu/research/hydrology/;
*Virginia Tech Watershed Hydrology Lab, online at http://hydro.vwrrc.vt.edu/.

For a Virginia Water Radio episode on the water (or hydrologic) cycle, please click on this link: Episode 191 (Week of 12-9-13), “The Water Cycle.”



Virginia Water News and Other Information
            For news, events, and resources relevant to Virginia's water resources, grouped into categories, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Episode 197 (1-20-14): Canvasback Ducks Dive While Others Dabble

Click to listen to episode (2:21)

TRANSCRIPT

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of January 20, 2014.

This week we feature another mystery sound.  Have a listen for about 15 seconds, and see if you can guess what’s making the squawking and warbling sounds.  And here’s a hint:  Even though this bird is a diver and not a dabbler, its beautiful color and its name may interest those of you who dabble in art.

SOUND

If you guessed a Canvasback, you’re right!  Canvasback ducks winter in the Chesapeake Bay and along the east. West, and Gulf coasts of the United States, but they migrate to prairies of Canada and northern states for spring and summer.  Male Canvasbacks are recognizable by their red head, red eye, black breast with white body, and relatively large size.  Canvasbacks are diving ducks, meaning they typically go completely underwater to obtain food and avoid predators.  Some other diving ducks found in Virginia are the Bufflehead and the mergansers.  In contrast, dabbling ducks typically feed from the water surface and don't usually submerge themselves.  Some examples of Virginia dabblers, also called “puddle ducks,” are the Mallard, Black Duck, and Wood Duck.   Thanks to Lang Elliott of
NatureSound Studio for permission to use this week’s sound.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

SHOW NOTES
 

[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 1/17/14]
Canvasback (Aythya valisineria).  Photo by Lee Karney, made available for public use by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library, online at http://digitalmedia.fws.gov, accessed 1/17/14.

Acknowledgments:  The sounds of the Canvasback duck were taken from the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs-Eastern Region CD set, by Lang Elliott with Donald and Lillian Stokes (Time Warner Audio Books, copyright 1997), used with permission of Lang Elliott, whose work is available online at http://www.langelliott.com/ and the “Music of Nature” Web site, http://www.musicofnature.org/.

Emily Whitesell helped write this week’s show during a Virginia Tech English Department internship with the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in the Spring 2011 semester.  This episode’s sounds and information were previously used as part of a longer-format episode, #50 (week of 1-24-11); that episode’s audio has now been archived.

Sources: Information on Canvasbacks was taken from A Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America, by Chandler S. Robbins et al. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001); Life in the Chesapeake Bay, by Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006); and the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology’s “Bird Guide” Web site at http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/search.  Another good source of information is “Birds of North America Online” at http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna (please note that a subscription is required to use this service).

Some other sources of information on Virginia birds are the following:
*Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries “Fish and Wildlife Information Service” Web page at http://vafwis.org/fwis/?Title=VaFWIS+Species+Information+By+Name&vUT=Visitor;

*Virginia Society of Ornithology at www.virginiabirds.net;

*E-bird Web site at http://ebird.org/content/ebird/, maintained by the Cornell Lab and the Audubon Society (here you can find locations of species observations made by contributors, and you can sign up to contribute your own observations.


Recent Virginia Water News and Other Information
            For news, events, and resources relevant to Virginia's water resources, grouped into categories, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Episode 196 (1-13-14): The Virginia Legislature on its 396th Opening Day, January 8, 2014

Click to listen to episode (3:30)

TRANSCRIPT

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of January 13, 2014.

This week, we drop in on the latest opening-day of a nearly 400-year-old Virginia institution.  Have a listen for about 90 seconds.

SOUND


With those and other words, ceremonies, and procedures, the Virginia General Assembly opened its 2014 session on January 8.  The Commonwealth’s legislature traces its history to the establishment in 1619 of the House of Burgesses in the English colony of Virginia.  The modern Assembly’s two houses, the House of Delegates and the Senate, convene every January for either a 60-day scheduled session (in even years) or a 30-day scheduled session (in odd years).  Every year, the Assembly deals with the state budget and considers two-to-three thousand bills and resolutions.  That agenda typically includes 150 to 200 water-related bills, on topics ranging from marine resources to groundwater to local water and sewer systems.  The sessions move fast and the decisions can have widespread and important consequences.  You can follow the work online through virginiageneralassembly.gov, or by communicating with your delegate or state senator.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

SHOW NOTES


[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 1/13/13]



Cartoon by George Wills, Blacksburg, Virginia.


Acknowledgments and Sources: Audio in this episode was recorded from live-streaming of the General Assembly’s opening House of Delegates and Senate sessions on January 8, 2014.  Following are the Web addresses for live-streaming of House and Senate floor sessions:
House of Delegates - http://virginia-house.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3;
Senate - http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3.

Click here to listen to a longer excerpt (9:43) of the opening of the 2014 Virginia House of Delegates, including members' oath of office and the election and full address of Speaker William J. Howell.  The transcript of new Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's first address to a joint session of the General Assembly on January 13, 2014, is available at this link: https://governor.virginia.gov/news/newsarticle?articleId=2572.

Information on the Virginia General Assembly was taken from the Assembly’s Web site, http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/.  That site includes information and links for following legislation (see note below) and for identifying and communicating with one’s representatives in the House of Delegates and Senate.

The Virginia Legislative Information System, at http://leg1.state.va.us/, is the online location to following the legislation of General Assembly sessions.

Recent Virginia Water News and Other Information
            For news, events, and resources relevant to Virginia's water resources, grouped into categories, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Episode 195 (1-6-14): Wading into the New Year, the New River, and Water Thermodynamics

Click to listen to episode (2:46)

TRANSCRIPT


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of January 6, 2014.

This week, we listen in on one Virginian’s annual challenge to the laws of physics—water-temperature physics, that is.  Have a listen for about 35 seconds.


SOUND.


You’ve been listening to Blacksburg resident Alan Moore during the 2014 version of his annual New Year’s Day wade into the New River.  This watery welcome to January 1st—unaided by a wet-suit—lasted only a few seconds, not as much because of the 22-degree air temperature as because of the 39-degree water temperature.  Water that cold can cause exhaustion or unconsciousness within 15 to 30 minutes, and even water at 60 or 70 degrees can be dangerously chilling over one to two hours, depending on a person’s body size and other factors.  Water’s capacity to chill a human body is much greater than that of air at the same temperature, for two reasons.  First, liquids generally conduct heat more rapidly than gases, because liquids are denser (that is, the molecules are closer together).  And second, liquid water has chemical attractions between molecules that can absorb high amounts of energy, compared to other liquids.  These and other interactions between water and heat—water’s thermodynamics—exert a big influence on weather, aquatic environments, biology, and taking a plunge on New Year’s or any other day.


For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


SHOW NOTES
[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 1/6/14]


The New River in Giles County, Virginia (looking upstream), at dawn on January 1, 2014.

The New River in Giles County, Virginia (looking downstream), at dawn on January 1, 2014.


Acknowledgments: Thanks to Alan Moore for allowing Virginia Water Radio to record sounds during his annual New River wade-in on January 1, 2014.

Sources: Information on water thermodynamics—the physics and chemistry of heat energy within water and of the transfer of that energy into and out of water—was taken from the following sources:
Climatology—An Atmospheric Science
, by J. J. Hidore and J. E. Oliver (New York: MacMillian, 1993), pages 55-58;

General Chemistry
, by Linus Pauling (New York: Dover, 1970), pages 343-350.

Information on survival in cold water was taken from the University of Minnesota Sea Grant’s Web page, “Hypothermia Prevention: Survival in Cold Water,” at http://www.seagrant.umn.edu/coastal_communities/hypothermia.

Information on safety from hypothermia and frostbite, including the increased risk from cold water, is available online from the following sources:
Virginia Department of Health, at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/weather/ColdWeatherSafety.htm;

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/hypothermia.asp;
and

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), at http://www.crh.noaa.gov/oax/safety/frostbite.php.


Recent Virginia Water News and Other Information
            For news, events, and resources relevant to Virginia's water resources, grouped into categories, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/.