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Bike path from work to home

I am deeply appreciative that I get to work in such a wonderful place as Hopkins Marine Station. So I try to do my part to respect the environment by riding my bike to work as much as possible. To the left is a Google Earth map of the route I take. (H) is my home and (W) is the marine station. One way is about 2.5-3 miles. Not too bad. A hill in the middle provides some exercise.

What I noticed was that it always seemed to be windier in the afternoons when I went home than in the early morning when I arrived. Was this just because I am tired when done with work or was there some basis to this belief?

With the weather station data set I could test this hypothesis. I averaged the daily wind speed and direction data for each day at 5am and 5pm. Yes, I am that crazy. These are the real times of my travel.

plot of wind speed and direction at 5am and 5pm To the left is a plot of the results. Further from the center means stronger wind.
~27 mph maximum seen on the plot. Gusts have been seen up to 80 mph during storms.

At least for the year 2008, my hypothesis seems to be confirmed. It is not just my aching aging bones. It is windier in the afternoon and in a direction that would affect my ride home.

This story shows how a hypothesis can be tested using the data set, but what does this have to do with the marine environment? Thankfully a lone technician going home is not the only life form on these shores. The brown pelican often follows this same route to and from feeding locations and perching locations. It is quite common to see them going northwest along the shore line starting from our 'Bird Rock' at the station and then proceeding out around Point Pinos towards Pebble Beach and beyond. Is the additional lift by going against the wind an advantage or an energy drain?

What other questions may be asked of the data set? How is your favorite creature affected by the weather? Back to the Weather Station Page.