The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

March 21, 2013

Readers' Forum 3-21 | Snow is God's vacuum cleaner

JOHNSTOWN — Cries are everywhere bemoaning the persistant snowfall this winter. The misinformed blame the climate change on global warming, but physicists recognize the underlying cause as nature’s way of cleansing the atmosphere.

The water cycle that occurs in the atmosphere is one of molecular transformation.

First, there is evaporation, then condensation and finally precipitation. Heat, of course, causes water to evaporate, then condensation takes place. If the temperature of the air is below the freezing point, snow is formed instead of rain.

Rain or snow differs from cloud or fog formation in the rate and in the amount of vapor, which condenses. Snow will not form unless air is supersaturated (cooled below its saturation point). Steam is a clear, transparent vapor. But when it enters into the air it is usually cooled and condenses into a white cloud, which is composed of minute drops of water – as in one’s breath when it is cooled below the temperature at which it is saturated (the dew point). This warm, moist breath on a cold winter day, is commonly called a “breath cloud.”

What is not universally known is that whenever water vapor condenses, there must be something for it to condense onto, such as a nucleus or a dust particle for each raindrop or snowflake. The source of dust nuclei could be from the ash of volcanoes, dust bowls, desert sand storms, exhaust smoke, etc. Thus it can be said that God vacuums the atmosphere with a clean sweep using raindrops and snowflakes.

Edward F. Podrasky

Johnstown

Effectiveness would suffer

Make no mistake, there are a lot of activities beyond law enforcement done by wildlife conservation officers of the Pennsylvania Game Commission and waterways conservation officers of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Their missions are beyond just law enforcement.

Environmental education and outreach to adults and youth are also part of the officers’ workdays.

All those WCOs in Cambria County make our programming better with their experience and expertise. Specific annual events include our family days – averaging 300 attendees – and county envirothon, averaging 25 teams. They are critical to interagency coordination and meeting common goals.

As for the nonenforcement side of these two commissions, they possess extraordinary habitat-management expertise with their technical staffs. More than $200,000 worth of fish habitat and soil stabilization projects have been completed recently in Cambria County, and there is that much more to come soon.

It couldn’t have been done without them.

With the thousands of acres of state game lands here, their land management has enhanced a great deal of acreage for a quality hunting experience, not to mention the hundreds of acres of land reclamation done through remining abandoned surface mines in the county.

This all contributes to our local economy through jobs and a quality experience for that part of our population that enjoys the outdoors.

During the years, we have given many conservation district awards to these two deserving agencies and their employees to recognize their excellence. Combining this expertise and still being as efficient and effective cannot be done easily – if at all.

Robert W. Piper Jr.

Manager, Cambria County Conservation District

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