Pat Shingleton: "Modoki and Crickets Chirpping"
Yesterday I reviewed hurricane seasons of the past and am "re-running" a column that I posted in 2009. "The Japanese word “modoki” means something that is similar but different. Years ago, Peruvian fishermen noticed a periodic warming of the water in the eastern sections of the tropical Pacific. Because this event occurred during Christmastime, they named it after the baby Jesus and we know it as El Nino. Improved understanding of El Nino and its cold water counterpart – La Nina, provide better forecasts; especially during hurricane season. Peter Webster is a professor at Georgia Tech and believes a hybrid to El Nino has developed due to warming waters farther west in the Pacific. He has re-named the phenomenon, El Nino Modoki, leading to more hurricanes later in the season. This was last noted in 2004 when there were 15 named storms and six majors." Switching gears, many believe that crickets chirp more in warm weather than during cold times. In 1897, physicist Amos Dolbear believed that the cricket was a thermometer. Not only do crickets chirp for a mate but they also correspond to "Dolbear's Law" which incorporated listening, counting and addition to determine the outside temperature. This is how it works. Listen and count the number of chirps that you hear in 14 seconds. After you have that number add the magic number 38 and it matches the Fahrenheit temperature. Years ago this formula was tested by Thomas Walker who wrote, "Cricket Field Study." Numerous crickets chirping at the same time is tricky. "Cricket Neely" of Gino's Restaurant uses his own crickets to calculate the temperature.