## Friday, February 4, 2011

### Thermodynamics

I need some help.  I don't have a background in physics, meteorology, or thermodynamics.  Perhaps if I had some training, schooling, understanding of all the above I would not be so perplexed by the weather conditions we've been experiencing during the last 12 to 15 hours.

If you can help to enlighten me, please, PLEASE explain it in rudimentary terms, so I'll not misunderstand.

This is what has occurred since about 10 PM last night.

The outdoor thermometer registered 27 degrees.  As I understand it, it means BELOW the freezing mark, hence water freezes BEFORE reaching that temperature.  (Water is supposed to freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, I think, right?)  Wellllllllllllllllll, at 10 last night, my daughter brought to my attention that it was drizzling outside AND the thermometer read 27 degrees.  Now, we also noticed that the barbeque grill had an icy glaze complete with icicles.  So, does that mean that water only freezes at 32 degrees F ONLY when it is dropping on a surface that is 32 degrees or below?

So then, today we've watched the outdoor thermometer and the precipitation. (We must have received some snow before we woke this morning because we saw patches of it on the kids swing set slide and elsewhere before we saw the rain or watery precipitation start back up.)  There were icicles hanging off the eves, and other surfaces, patches of ice on the patio, trees, shrubbery, etc.  The temperature has NOT raised above the 30-31 degree mark all day.  The precipitation has ceased.  And yet . . . we have water continuing to drip from the roof .  I'm not sure about it dripping off other surfaces, since I'm staying inside close to the fireplace.

I don't know if you can actually see the water dripping off the roofline.
Maybe you'll have to look really closely.

So if any meteorologists, physicists, or thermodynamicists are out there willing to enlighten me, please, (again) do so now and help me avoid further consternation. I need to know.  Have to know.  *Sigh*

And additionally, if anyone has light to shed on the subject . . . does cold weather make YOU crave chocolate?  If you feel you can only weigh in on one topic of discussion, best make it this chocolate one.  Heaven knows it's the one that will count most in the end.  I think.  ;-}

Bob said...

Oh my goodness, I won't begin to answer any of your very good questions other than the one about chocolate: not only chocolate, but all kinds of comfort foods that are totally in opposition to my post-Christmas, pre-wedding eating and exercise plan. I mean, I can't go outside because it's too cold so I need to stay in and make sure I have enough energy. We were supposed to have company from Arkansas this weekend. They canceled because of the weather but NOT before my wife had made a red velvet cake AND carrot cake. What's a body to do?????

(I do think the water dripping from the roof has something to do with the heat emanating from inside, up to the roof. But don't quote me).

Pencil Writer said...

Red Velvet Cake AND Carrot Cake?!!!!! May I come over? I'd be more than happy to help you out, ya know...

And I think you're probably right about the warmth from "inside" the roof melting the ice. But today...*trumpet blast* we have SUN and LOTS of melting ice dripping from said roof.

Thanks for weighing in on the more important question, Bob. (No pun intended. Really!) Have a great day, freeze whatever of the cakes you determine should not be consumed just yet. They'll be great later for a late night snack--and since I'm sure they have a negative caloric value . . . eat to your hearts comfort and content. ;-}

jeanie said...

I don't know, I am afraid - it doesn't get that cold over here for it even to be a theoretical blip on my radar.

I did teach my daughter today that butter will get to room temperature quicker if it is cut into smaller cubes, explaining surface area - can you use that.

Oh - and the bickies we made had lots of chocolate, so even gorgeous weather can make the chocolate taste good.

BTW - my word verification is "pensess" - how cool is that on a pencils blog!!

Pencil Writer said...

Jeanie, I love your common sense approach to everything. You're absolutely right about the butter softening much more quickly with being in smaller sizes. And that chocolate--in any weather--is always a good choice! (I'm still savoring the last spoonful of chocolate ice cream, actually, recently eaten!)

Pensess--yes. Pencils and pensess. Nice touch! (Mind right now is "quidcle". Is that a British term for frozen money???

Pencil Writer said...

oops. That should read "mine" not mind. Obviously, my mind is not all together altogether. Or is that the other way 'round?