Illustration: Winter Sky over Kochav HaShachar by Dahlia Consor (All rights reserved.)
There's not much going on weather wise around here. After a few chilly days to start our week, the winds should switch to a more southerly direction, bringing much milder weather our way. The warm weather will be in response to a ridge of higher pressure building into our region, as a colder low pressure trough exits to our east.
At this point in time, many folks might just be ready to throw up their hands and give up on our winter. In fact, we haven't really had winter yet, and our last storm (with 90 km/h winds in Ashkelon) was more typical of fall than winter.
Yet, change might be just around the corner. You may have heard of our "Israel Winter Weather" group. It is populated by a bunch of optimists, one of which is even more optimistic than the rest. One of the members is Yaakov Consor, who has contributed to these articles in the past. The other is Jonathan Hoffman of Jerusalem Weather Forecasts. While my weather site provides detailed forecast information from various models, our group makes an effort to not leave any stone unturned that might give a reason for the group's existence.
Fortunately, there are a number of signals that next week's warmth may be this year's last, and the year will end with a period of colder and rainy weather with snow on the Hermon. Moreover, the Arctic Oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation(NAO) are forecast to both go positive and remain in their positive phase through January. This type of weather pattern implies a stormy and chillier-than-normal January. While we've had rainy, we haven't had chilly at the same time. If one puts rainy and chilly in the same sentence, one might have the ingredients for snow as we move into January.
By contrast, a negative NAO has bad repercussions for the Greenland ice sheet. Too much melting of this ice sheet could detrimentally raise sea levels. A shift to a positive NAO will push storms further north into northern Europe, hopefully increasing snowfall on the ice-sheet, and building it back up to more normal levels. For us, this type of circulation pattern bends back towards the eastern Mediterranean, bringing us our rainy winter weather. If one of these storms merges with a Siberian trough, we can get a large snowfall.
I need to stop now and update you on the fate of our snail family. I am sure that you've been wondering just how they've been, since you saw them
happily chomping away on an assortment of vegetables one evening a few weeks ago. They've become quite famous with one of our special friends appearing on a taro milk carton. I can also tell you that they don't all fit on one plate now, and that their numbers have grown.
This is exciting news for those that like snails and are interested in their welfare. You might also like to know that sometimes snails don't get along with each other, and occasionally you'll find one snail eating by him or herself, alone. This is less likely, now, though, because there are just too many snails to be picky.
Well snails may be nice, but jellyfish are not — and they have ruined too many trips to the beach. We've all been bothered by the number of jellyfish — who cause all sorts of problems for bathers and fish. And since there hasn't been any weather to report on, I tried to think of some other business that might help make ends meet. As you know, I like to cook, so I thought of a recipe for Jellyfish Pie (although it’s not kosher). It's a start.
Here it is: 6 beaten eggs; 1 cup sugar; a pinch of salt; 1 tsp vanilla extract; 1/2 tsp nutmeg; and 2 cups milk. Add the ingredients together and then beat in 1/2 cup jellyfish flour. Add to a pie crust, and cook for 25 to 35 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius. The jellyfish flour adds consistency and flavor that is unique to members of the scyphozoa phylum cnidaria.
However, rabbis do not consider gelatinous members of the subphylum medusozoa, a major part of the phylum cnidaria, to be kosher. So you can just make this recipe for custard pie instead. Just be sure to tell your guests it's not Jellyfish Pie.
Dr. Lynn is a lecturer at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Earth Sciences Department. He is also CEO of Weather It Is, LTD, a company that specializes in reducing weather risk. Click here to read more of this writer’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.