Monday, July 31, 2017

Episode 379 (7-31-17): Water at the Heart of Virginia's Western Highlands


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:57).


Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, images, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 7-28-17.


TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 31, 2017.

SOUND - ~5 sec

This week, the sound of the James River at Richmond sets the stage for a headwaters mystery sound.  Have a listen for about 10 seconds, and see if you can guess what groundwater-based resource in the region where the James begins has been a settlement and tourist attraction for centuries.

SOUND - ~12 sec

If you guessed springs, you’re right!  You heard sounds from Magnesia Spring and Boiler Spring at the historic Homestead Resort in the Bath County town of Hot Springs.  As the names Hot Springs and Boiler Spring indicate, the area is particularly known for thermal springs, where groundwater emerges on the land surface at warm or hot temperatures.  Springs—both thermal ones and cool-water ones—are a focal point of the past and present of Virginia’s western highlands or Alleghany Highlands, names used for all or parts of the four county area of Alleghany, Bath, Craig, and Highland counties.  The Homestead, for example, began in 1766 around thermal springs that attracted visitors seeking to bathe in warm, mineral-rich water for its perceived healing effects. Bath County seat Warm Springs and other communities similarly developed around this groundwater-generated resource.

On the land’s surface, spring outfalls and streams in the four counties give rise to the Cowpasture River in Bath County and the Jackson River in Alleghany County.  Those two rivers meet to form the James in Botetourt County, just across Alleghany’s southern border.

Virginia has other highlands, other areas of springs, and of course other river headwaters areas, but none exceed the highlands of the James River headwaters area—from Natural Well in the south to Hot Springs in the middle to the community of Headwaters in the north—for being influenced and identified by their water, above and below the surface.

We close with some music by a Blacksburg-based group with a western highlands water name: Sweet Chalybeate, named for an Alleghany County town and the word for iron-enriched spring water.

MUSIC - ~ 27 sec - instrumental from “See What I Have Done” by Sweet Chalybeate

SHIP’S BELL

For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Sounds from Magnesia Spring and Boiling Spring at the Homestead Hotel and Resort in Hot Springs were recorded by Virginia Water Radio on July 22, 2017.

“See What I Have Done” is copyright by Sweet Chalybeate, used with permission.  More information on Sweet Chalybeate is available online at http://www.sweetchalybeate.com/.

Thanks to Michael Martz for the James River recording, made in Richmond on February 17, 2014.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at http://www.bencosgrove.com.

PHOTOS

The Homestead Hotel in Hot Springs, Virginia, July 22, 2017.
Magnesia Spring information marker at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Va., July 22, 2017.
Boiler Spring information marker at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Va., July 22, 2017.
Sign at the Jefferson Pools in Warm Springs, Va., July 22, 2017.
View to the east from Warm Springs Mountain overlook on U.S. Route 39 in Bath County, Va., July 22, 2017.
Confluence of the Cowpasture River (right background) and Jackson River (left background to form the James River in Botetourt County, Va., July 19, 2009.

EXTRA FACTS ABOUT SPRINGS IN VIRGINIA


From Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, “Groundwater Characterization/Springs Database,” online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/GroundwaterCharacterization/SpringDatabase.aspx:

“Springs are important natural resources. They serve as water sources for wildlife and maintain stream-flows during drought. Springs were sought after by native americans and early european settlers as sources of drinking water and mechanical power to operate grain-mills and furnace-bellows. Today they remain sources of many public, industrial, agricultural, and private water supplies.”


Spring locations in Virginia in 2016, according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality database. Map accessed at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/GroundwaterCharacterization/SpringDatabase.aspx, 7/28/17.

From J.A. Poff, A Homeowner’s Guide to the Development, Maintenance, and Protection of Springs as a Drinking Water Source, Virginia Water Resources Research Center, Blacksburg, 1999, available online at http://vwrrc.vt.edu/special_reports.html#1999:

(from pages 11-12): “In 1928, a team of geologists…explored Virginia’s fields and forest in search of springs. They located over 500 springs in the Valley and Ridge Porvince. Most of the springs were concentrated in the Shenandoah Valley and the counties of August, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Bath, and Highland. This is an area of karst topography, where water-soluble limestone is perforated by channels, caves, sinkholes, and underground caversn, and has an abundance of springs. Researchers fro mthe Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences at Virginia Tech continued this survey some 50 years later. The research team located more than 1,600 additional springs. Most of the springs were on private lands west of the Blue Ridge.”

(from pages 15-16): “Both cold-water and thermal (warm or hot water) springs are found in Virginia. The Virginia Tech researchers located more than 1500 cold-water springs and 100 thermal springs. The water temperatue of cold-water springs averages between 52 and 58 degrees Fahrenheit (F), about the same as the mean air temperature. Thermal springs with waters heated deep within the earth flow at temperatures of 100 to 600 F year-round. Warm springs have a mean water temperature greater than average air temperature but less than 98 F; hot springs have mean water temperatures above 98 F.”

SOURCES

Used in Audio

Alleghany Highlands Blueway, online at http://www.alleghanyhighlandsblueway.com/main/index.php.

Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, online at http://www.ahchamber.com/main/index.php.

Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation, “Facts & Figures,” online at http://www.ahedc.com/facts-figures/.

Stan Cohen, The Homestead and Warm Springs Valley, Virginia: A Pictorial Heritage, Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, Charleston, W. Va., 1984.

Oren F. Morton, Annals of Bath County, Virginia, C.J. Carrier Company, Harrisonburg, Va., 1978.

J.A. Poff, A Homeowner’s Guide to the Development, Maintenance, and Protection of Springs as a Drinking Water Source, Virginia Water Resources Research Center, Blacksburg, 1999, online at http://vwrrc.vt.edu/special_reports.html#1999.

University of Virginia/Historical Collections at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, “Red Sweet Springs (Sweet Chalybeate Springs), Alleghany County, Virginia,” online at http://exhibits.hsl.virginia.edu/springs/redsweet/.

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, “Groundwater Characterization/Springs Database,” online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/GroundwaterCharacterization/SpringDatabase.aspx.

Virginia Mountains, online at http://www.visitvamountains.com/.

Virginia Places, “Thermal Springs in Virginia,” online at http://www.virginiaplaces.org/watersheds/hotsprings.html.

Virginia Tourism Corporation, “The Omni Homestead Resort,” online at https://www.virginia.org/listings/placestostay/theomnihomesteadresort/.

Virginia’s Western Highlands, online at http://vawesternhighlands.com/.

For More Information Western Virginia or Springs in Virginia

Michael Abraham, The Spine of the Virginias: Journeys Along the Border Between Virginia and West Virginia, Pocahontas Press, Blacksburg, Va., 2010.

Marsahll Fishwick, Springlore in Virginia, Bowling Green State University Popular Press, Bowling Green, Ky., 1978.

Virginia Places, “Caves and Springs in Virginia,” online at http://www.virginiaplaces.org/cave/.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html). See particularly the subject categories “Groundwater” and “Rivers, Streams, and Other Surface Water.”

Some other episodes related to springs are Episode 75, 8/15/11 (on springs generally) and Episode 306, 3/7/16 (on groundwater connections).

Some other episodes related to the James River are the following:
Episode 87 - 11/7/11 - on the falls of the James at Richmond and the city’s connections to the river;
Episode 201, 2/17/14 - Abraham Lincoln and the James River;
Episode 273, 7/6/15 - on the Great Road/Colonial Parkway on the Virginia Peninsula between the James and York rivers;
Episode 334, 9/19/16 - a Virginia rivers quiz;
Episode 373, 6/19/17 - James River Batteau Festival;
Episode 265, 5-11-15 - on geography, with sounds of Craig Creek, the James at Lynchburg, and James at Richmond.

STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS
This episode may help with the following Virginia 2010 Science SOLs:

Grades K-6 Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change Theme
3.9 – Water cycle, including sources of water, energy driving water cycle, water essential for living things, and water limitations and conservation.

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
4.9 - Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
6.7 - natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; health and safety issues; and water monitoring.

Grades K-6 Matter Theme
6.5 – properties and characteristics of water.

Life Science Course
LS.6 - ecosystem interactions, including the water cycle, other cycles, and energy flow.

Earth Science Course
ES.6 – renewable vs. non-renewable resources (including energy resources).
ES.8 - influences by geologic processes and the activities of humans on freshwater resources, including identification of groundwater and major watershed systems in Virginia.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2015 Social Studies SOLs:

Virginia Studies Course
VS.1 – impact of geographic features on people, places, and events in Virginia history.
VS.2 – physical geography and native peoples of Virginia past and present.
VS.10 – knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

United States History to 1865 Course
USI.5 – factors that shaped colonial America and conditions in the colonies, including how people interacted with the environment to produce goods and service.

World Geography Course
WG.2 - how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.
WG.3 - how regional landscapes reflect the physical environment and the cultural characteristics of their inhabitants.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Episode 378 (7-24-17): The Complicated Challenge of Cleaner Water


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:33).

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, images, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 7-21-17.


TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 24, 2017.

This week, we feature a series of clean-water-related mystery sounds.  Have a listen for about 35 seconds, and see if you can guess where theses sounds were recorded.  And here’s a hint: It’s certainly no waste of time to learn about where water gets cleaned.

SOUNDS AND VOICE - ~35 sec

If you guessed a wastewater-treatment plant, you’re right! Y ou heard sounds from the Blacksburg-VPI Sanitation Authority plant in July 2011.  Conventional wastewater treatment removes solid materials, disinfects water, and removes organic matter whose decomposition can reduce oxygen in streams receiving a plant’s discharge.  As you heard, plants can also take extra steps to reduce levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in order to help prevent an excess of those algae-stimulating nutrients in aquatic systems.

Wastewater treatment is just one part of the challenge of maintaining and improving water quality, that is, water’s chemical, physical, and biological conditions.  The job is large, complicated, and expensive.   Improving water quality involves regulation of point sources, like wastewater plants and industries, which have a specific input to water bodies.  It also involves land use practices to reduce non-point source pollution, which enters waterways in many places, not at one specific point. And inputs to water from air pollutants are part of the challenge, too.  Under the federal Clean Water Act and state laws, Virginia regulates point source pollution through permitting and monitoring programs within the Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ; the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy; and the Marine Resources Commission, which regulates state-owned submerged lands.  DEQ is also the lead Virginia agency for managing non-point source pollution, with the Department of Conservation and Recreation also playing a role.  Those agencies administer a variety of water-quality financing programs, such as the Water Quality Improvement Fund, the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund, and agricultural Best Management Practices cost-share and tax credit programs.

With many players and challenges, water-quality programs all aim toward the goal of having water clean enough to support aquatic life and several designated human uses, including fishing, swimming, and public water supply.  We close with a water-use sound medley, reminding us of what we’re paying for with the common wealth we devote to water quality.

SOUNDS - ~26 sec – Little Stony Creek in Giles County, Va.; fishing line; a New River swimmer on January 1; water faucet; ducks; and frogs.

SHIP’S BELL


For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This episode is a revision and expansion of Episode 72, 7-25-11, “Wastewater Treatment Plants, Nutrient Removal, and the Virginia Water Quality Improvement Fund,” which has been archived.

Quinn Hull recorded this week’s sounds during a July 2011 tour of the Blacksburg-VPI Sanitation Authority wastewater treatment plant.   Plant staff member Bobby Epperly gave the plant tour and is heard in the audio.  The sounds in this recording were of the plant’s incinerator room, chlorination chamber, pump room (the high-pitched screech), grit removers, and algae-scrubbers on secondary clarifiers.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.

IMAGES

Diagram and description of typical wastewater treatment plant process, from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, online at http://deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/WastewaterAssistanceTraining/WastewaterTreatment.aspx.
1. Preliminary Treatment — Removes debris which could damage plant equipment.
2. Primary Treatment — Removes 90 - 95% of the settleable solids.
3. Secondary Treatment — Removes organic matter through biological oxidation and settling.
4. Advanced Treatment — Removes solids, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other pollutants such as color and metals.
5. Disinfection — Removes organisms which might cause disease.
6. Solids Handling — Treats the solids removed from the wastewater to allow safe and economical disposal

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) diagram showing depicting point sources vs. nonpoint sources, in this case specifically for nutrients and pesticides. Image from “The Quality of Our Nation's Waters—Nutrients and Pesticides,” USGS Circular 1225, 1999, online at https://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/circ1225/.


A U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientist with device for measuring several water-quality conditions (dissolved oxygen, pH, specific conductance, and temperature) in the Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia (undated).  Photo from the USGS, accessed online at https://water.usgs.gov/edu/photos-waterquality.html#12.  Other USGS photos related to water quality are available online at https://water.usgs.gov/edu/photos-waterquality.html.

SOURCES USED IN AUDIO AND FOR MORE INFORMATION

Used in Audio

Thomas V. Cech, Principles of Water Resources, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 2003, pp. 359-361.

Town of Blacksburg, “Wastewater Treatment,” online at http://www.blacksburg.gov/departments/departments-a-k/engineering-and-gis/wastewater.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Wastewater Pollution Reduction in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed,” online at https://www.epa.gov/chesapeake-bay-tmdl/wastewater-pollution-reduction-chesapeake-bay-watershed.

Virginia Code Chapter 21.1, “Virginia Water Quality Improvement Act of 1997,” online at http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title10.1/chapter21.1/.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation:
“Land Preservation Tax Credit,” online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/land-conservation/lpc;
“Land Conservation: State and Federal Grants,” online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/land-conservation/;
“Soil and Water Conservation,” online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil-and-water/;
“Virginia Agricultural Incentives,” online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil-and-water/costshar.

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality:
“Clean Water Financing and Assistance,” online at http://deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/CleanWaterFinancingAssistance.aspx;
“Designated Uses,” online at http://deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/WaterQualityStandards/DesignatedUses.aspx;
“Wastewater Treatment,” http://deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/WastewaterAssistanceTraining/WastewaterTreatment.aspx;
“Water Quality Standards,” online at http://deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/WaterQualityStandards.aspx.

Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy/Division of Mined Land Reclamation, “Water Quality Information,” online at https://dmme.virginia.gov/DMLR/DmlrWaterQualityPage.shtml.

Virginia Division of Legislative Services, “Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund,” online at http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions/cbr.htm?x=fnd.

Virginia Marine Resources Commission, “Subaqueous Guidelines,” online at http://mrc.virginia.gov/regulations/subaqueous_guidelines.shtmhttp://mrc.virginia.gov/regulations/subaqueous_guidelines.shtm.

For More Information about Water Quality

Boulder (Colo.) Area Sustainability Information Network, Water Quality Terminology, online at http://bcn.boulder.co.us/basin/natural/wqterms.html; and
Missouri Department of Natural Resources, “Water Quality Parameters,” online at http://dnr.mo.gov/env/esp/waterquality-parameters.htm.  These are examples of sites offering explanations of many water quality factors or parameters.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
“Monitoring and Assessing Water Quality,” online at https://archive.epa.gov/water/archive/web/html/index-19.html.
“National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES),” online at https://www.epa.gov/npdes;
“Summary of the Clean Water Act,” online at https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-clean-water-act.

U.S. Geological Survey:
“Water Quality Information Pages,” online at https://water.usgs.gov/owq/;
“Water Science School/Water Quality,” online at https://water.usgs.gov/edu/waterquality.html.

Virginia Water Central News Grouper posts on news, events, and information resources relevant to water quality are online at the following two links:
For Chesapeake Bay watersheds - https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/category/water-quality-and-habitat-in-chesapeake-bay-tributaries-and-coastal-waters/;
For Mississippi River and Albemarle Sound watersheds (referred to as Virginia’s “southern rivers”): https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/category/water-quality-and-habitat-in-virginias-southern-rivers/.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the following subject categories: Community/Organizations; Science; and Waste Management.

Following are links to some other episodes on water quality-related topics:
Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts – Episode 115, 6/18/12; Episode 305, 2/29/16;
Clean Water Act – Episode 269 – 6/8/15;
Coal and water quality – Episode 97, 1/30/12; Episode 98, 2/6/12; Episode 99, 2/13/12;
Dissolved oxygen – Episode 333, 9/12/16;
Impaired waters/Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) – Episode 115, 6/18/12;
Medication disposal – Episode 107, 4/16/12;
Motor oil recycling – Episode 188, 11/18/13;
Nitrogen and Chesapeake Bay oysters – Episode 279, 8/24/15; Episode 280, 9/7/15;
Stormwater – Episode 182, 10/7/13;
Stream assessment with aquatic macroinvertebrates – Episode 81, 9/26/11.

Following are links to some other episodes on Virginia state government entities involved in water quality:
Marine Resources Commission – Episode 91, 12/5/11;
State Water Commission – Episode 347, 12/19/16;
State Water Control Board – Episode 94, 1/9/12.

STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS

This episode may help with the following Virginia 2010 Science SOLs:

Grades K-6 Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change Theme
3.9 – Water cycle, including sources of water, energy driving water cycle, water essential for living things, and water limitations and conservation.

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
4.9 - Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
6.7 - natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; health and safety issues; and water monitoring.

Life Science Course
LS.11 - relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science Course
ES.8 - influences by geologic processes and the activities of humans on freshwater resources, including identification of groundwater and major watershed systems in Virginia.
ES.10 – ocean processes, interactions, and policies affecting coastal zones, including Chesapeake Bay.

Biology Course
BIO.2 – water chemistry and its impact on life processes.
BIO.8 - dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems; including nutrient cycling, succession, effects of natural events and human activities, and analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2015 Social Studies SOLs:

Virginia Studies Course
VS.10 – knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

Civics and Economics Course
CE.6 – government at the national level.
CE.7 – government at the state level.
CE.8 – government at the local level.
CE.10 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.2 - how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.

Government Course
GOVT.7 – national government organization and powers.
GOVT.8 – state and local government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – public policy process at local, state, and national levels.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Episode 377 (7-17-17): Voices of the Clouds


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:56).

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, images, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 7-14-17.


TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 17, 2017.

This week, we drop in on a group of people using the ancient Latin language to describe visible water hundreds or thousands of feet high. Sound highly suspect? Well, just have a listen for about 25 seconds.

GUEST VOICES - ~22 sec - “Cumulus. Stratocumulus. Altocumulus. Cirrocumulus. Status. Altostratus. Cirrostratus. Cirrus. Nimbostratus. Cumulonimbus.”

You’ve been listening to the 10 basic cloud types, according to the National Weather Service. Since 1802, cloud types have had names from five Latin language roots describing clouds’ appearance, location, or rain potential: cumulus, meaning heap; stratus, meaning strewn or layered; cirrus, meaning curl; altus, meaning high; and nimbus, meaning cloud in Latin but rain in English usage. Meteorologists classify the 10 basic cloud types you heard further into about 100 species or varieties, based on shape, appearance, and internal structure.

Clouds form when water vapor molecules in the atmosphere condense into liquid droplets around particles of soil, salt, or other materials, called condensation nuclei. Condensation occurs simultaneouly with evaporation—the process that turns liquid water back into water vapor—so clouds form when, and where, temperatures are low enough that condensation exceeds evaporation. Cloud formation and type also depend on the amount of water in the air, air pressure, winds, and landscape features. The possibilities range in altitude from low, fair-weahter cumulus or rainy nimbostratus; to mid-level altocumulus or altostratus; to high, icy cirrus, or the tops of towering cumulonimbus thunderheads rising above 30,000 feet.

At any height, clouds tell us about the atmosphere, using signals much older than Latin or any human language.

SOUND - ~2 sec

Thanks to several Blacksburg friends for lending their voices to this episode. We close with some music suitable for a clouds conversation: “Storm,” by Torrin Hallett, a student at Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio.

MUSIC - ~14 sec

SHIP’S BELL

For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463. Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment. Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show. In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The cloud types call-out was recorded July 11, 2017, in Blacksburg, Va. Thanks to several Blacksburg friends for participating in this recording.

The thunder sound was recorded in Blacksburg on April 20, 2015.

“Storm,” a movement within “Au Naturale,” is copyright 2017 by Torrin Hallett, used with permission. Part of this piece was also used in Episode 362, 4-3-17, on hail. In 2017, Torrin is majoring in music composition, horn performance, and mathematics in the dual degree program at Oberlin College and Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio. More information about Torrin is available at his Web site, http://www.torrinjhallett.com/.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode. More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at http://www.bencosgrove.com.

IMAGES

Cloud chart from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/National Weather Service (NWS) and the National Aeronautic and Space Agency (NASA), online at http://www.srh.weather.gov/srh/jetstream/clouds/cloudchart.html#myModall5.

A Clouds Photo Sampler from Blacksburg, Va.


January 20, 2017, 4:30 p.m.
June 6, 2017, 7:20 a.m.
July 1, 2017, 10:30 a.m.
July 14, 2017, 3:30 p.m.
August 16, 2016, 6:30 p.m.

EXTRA FACTS ABOUT CLOUDS

From the U.S. Geological Survey, “Water Science School/Condensation—The Water Cycle,” online at https://water.usgs.gov/edu/watercyclecondensation.html:

“Condensation is the process by which water vapor in the air is changed into liquid water. Condensation is crucial to the water cycle because it is responsible for the formation of clouds. These clouds may produce precipitation, which is the primary route for water to return to the Earth's surface within the water cycle. Condensation is the opposite of evaporation.

“You don’t have to look at something as far away as a cloud to notice condensation, though. Condensation is responsible for ground-level fog; for your glasses fogging up when you go from a cold room to the outdoors on a hot, humid day; for the water that drips off the outside of your glass of iced tea; and for the water on the inside of the windows in your home on a cold day. The phase change that accompanies water as it moves between its vapor, liquid, and solid form is exhibited in the arrangement of water molecules. Water molecules in the vapor form are arranged more randomly than in liquid water. As condensation occurs and liquid water forms from the vapor, the water molecules become organized in a less random structure, which is less random than in vapor, and heat is released into the atmosphere as a result.

“Even though clouds are absent in a crystal clear blue sky, water is still present in the form of water vapor and droplets which are too small to be seen. Depending on weather conditions, water molecules will combine with tiny particles of dust, salt, and smoke in the air to form cloud droplets, which grow and develop into clouds, a form of water we can see. Cloud droplets can vary greatly in size, from 10 microns (millionths of a meter) to 1 millimeter (mm), and even as large as 5 mm. This process occurs higher in the sky where the air is cooler and more condensation occurs relative to evaporation. As water droplets combine (also known as coalescence) with each other, and grow in size, clouds not only develop, but precipitation may also occur. Precipitation is essentially water in its liquid or solid form falling from the base of a cloud….”

“The clouds formed by condensation are an intricate and critical component of Earth's environment. Clouds regulate the flow of radiant energy into and out of Earth's climate system. They influence the Earth's climate by reflecting incoming solar radiation (heat) back to space and outgoing radiation (terrestrial) from the Earth's surface. Often at night, clouds act as a ‘blanket,’ keeping a portion of the day's heat next to the surface. Changing cloud patterns modify the Earth's energy balance, and, in turn, temperatures on the Earth's surface.”

From D.E. Pedgley, “Luke Howard and his Clouds,” Weather, Vo. 58, February 2003, pages 51-55; accessed onlnie at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1256/wea.157.02/pdf (subscription may be required for access):

“Cirrus, cumulus, stratus—these are cloud names that have been used worldwide for 200 years. They were introduced in December 1802 by Luke Howard…, a manufacturing chemist and amateur meteorologist, in an essay entitled ‘On the modifications of clouds’ that he read to the Askesian Society. In his essay, Howard presented the first practical classification of clouds. In so doing, he wanted to emphasise the usefulness of meteorology, particularly of visual observations of clouds and winds.”

SOURCES USED IN AUDIO AND FOR MORE INFORMATION

David M. Ludlum et al., National Audubon Society Pocket Guide—Clouds and Storms, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, 1995.

National Geographic Society, “Clouds,” online at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/earth/earths-atmosphere/clouds/.

National Weather Service, “Cloud Chart,” online at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/srh/jetstream/clouds/cloudwise/chart.html; “How Clouds Form,” online at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream/clouds/cloudwise/learn.html; “Ten Basic Cloud Types,” online at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream/clouds/cloudwise/types.html.

D.E. Pedgley, “Luke Howard and his Clouds,” Weather, Vol. 58, February 2003, pages 51-55.

University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colo., online at https://scied.ucar.edu/webweather/clouds/cloud-types.  This Web site for cloud types includes photos and a 2 min./57 sec. video on cloud types (good for children).

University of Illinois Department of Atmospheric Sciences, “Cloud Types—Common Cloud Classifications,” online at http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/(Gh)/guides/mtr/cld/cldtyp/home.rxml.

U.S. Geological Survey, “Water Science School/Condensation—The Water Cycle,” online at https://water.usgs.gov/edu/watercyclecondensation.html.

World Meteorological Organization, “Classifying Clouds,” online at https://public.wmo.int/en/WorldMetDay2017/classifying-clouds.

For More Information about Weather Related to Virginia

Virginia Water Central News Grouper posts on news, events, and information resources relevant to weather are available online at https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/category/weather/.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html). See particularly the “Weather/Natural Disasters” subject category.

Some previous episodes on weather topics are the following:
Fog – Episode 124, 8/20/12;
Hail – Episode 362, 4/3/17;
Rainfall – Episode 338, 10/17/16;
Tropical Storms – Episode 34, 10/29/12 (Hurricane Sandy), Episode 337, 10/10/16 (Hurricane Matthew), Episode 345, 12/5/16 (Atlantic tropical storm season review), Episode 369, 5/22/17 (annual Atlantic tropical storm season preview);
Weather balloons – Episode 152, 3/11/13;
Weather watches and warnings – Episode 106, 4/9/12;
Winter precipitation – Episode 258, 3/23/15 (and water supplies); Episode 300, 1/25/16 (snow terms).

Previous episodes featuring music composed by Torrin Hallett for Virginia Water Radio are the following:
Episode 335, 9/26/16 on the Canada Goose – “Geese Piece”;
Episode 338, 10/17/16, on rainfall measurements – “Rain Refrain”;
Episode 343, 11/21/16, on the Wild Turkey – “Turkey Tune”;
Episode 349, 1/2/17, on the New Year – “New Year’s Water”;
Episode 369, 5-22-17, on the 2017 Atlantic tropical storm season – “Tropical Tantrum.”

STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS

The episode may help with Virginia 2013 Music SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2010 English SOLs:

Reading Theme
6.4 and 7.4 – meanings of unfamiliar words (a. word origins and derivations).
8.4, 9.3, 10.3, 11.3, and 12.3 – knowledge of word origins, analogies, and figurative language to extend vocabulary development within authentic texts.

This episode may also help with the following Virginia 2010 Science SOLs:

Grades K-6 Interrelationships in Earth/Space Systems Theme
2.6 – identification of common storms and other weather phenomena.
4.6 – weather conditions, phenomena, and measurements.

Grades K-6 Matter Theme
6.6 – Properties of air (including pressure, temperature, and humidity) and structure/dynamics of earth’s atmosphere, including weather topics.

Earth Science Course
ES.12 – weather and climate.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2015 Social Studies SOL:

World Geography Course
WG.2 - how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.