Understanding El Niño

With all the talk this weekend of big snowstorms in the East, the mercury dropping and our love of everything thermal, I thought it would be fun to share the history and science behind an El Nino. Bundle up!


Simple, clear explanation:

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Click to see VIDEO HERE 


Geeky, nerdy, complex explanation:

El Niño – is so termed because it generally reaches full strength toward the end of the year, and early Christian inhabitants of western equatorial South America equated the warm water current and the resulting impacts with their holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus (known as El Niño in Spanish).

El Niño and the Humboldt Current – in normal, non-El Niño conditions, trade winds blow in a westerly direction along the equator, piling up warm surface water in the western Pacific, causing the sea surface to be as much as 18 inches higher than the east. These trade winds are one of the main sources of fuel for the Humboldt Current – a cold ocean current that flows north along the coasts of Chile and Peru, then turns west and warms as it moves out into the Central Pacific. So, the normal situation is warmer water in the western Pacific, cooler in the eastern.

In an El Niño, the equatorial westerly winds diminish, and as a result, the Humboldt Current weakens. This allows the waters along the coast of Chile and Peru to warm and creates warmer than usual conditions along the coast of South America. As far as we know, other forces, such as volcanic eruptions and sunspots, do not cause El Niños.

ENSO – El Niño and this Southern Oscillation (known as ENSO) is a periodic fluctuation in sea surface temperature (El Niño) and the air pressure of the overlying atmosphere (Southern Oscillation). This bimodal variation in sea level barometric pressure is measured between observation stations at Darwin, Australia and Tahiti and quantified in the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), a standardized difference between the two barometric pressures.  Normally, lower pressure over Darwin and higher pressure over Tahiti encourages a circulation of air from east to west, drawing warm surface water westward and bringing precipitation to Australia and the western Pacific.  When the pressure difference weakens, which is strongly coincidental with El Niño conditions, parts of the western Pacific, such as Australia experience severe drought, while across the ocean, heavy precipitation can bring flooding to the west coast of equatorial South America and changes to the north American continent.

Causes – The exact initiating causes of an ENSO warm or cool event are not fully understood. The strengthening and weakening of the trade winds is a function of changes in the pressure gradient of the atmosphere over the tropical Pacific.  Ironically, the warming of the sea surface works to decrease the atmospheric pressure above it by transferring more heat to the atmosphere and making it more buoyant.

Infrared Radiation Effect – The connection between the Southern Oscillation and precipitation is also manifest in the quantity of long–wave (e.g., infrared) radiation leaving the atmosphere.  Under clear skies, a great deal of the long–wave radiation released into the atmosphere from the surface can escape into space.  Under cloudy skies, some of this radiation is prevented from escaping.  Satellites are able to measure the amount of long–wave radiation reaching space, and from these observations, the relative amount of convection in different parts of the basin can be estimated.

For more detailed and more technical explanations, visit our article source at NOAA National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration – https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov




“Don’t Break The Chain”

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If you’re like most people, you’ve probably set out your personal and business goals for 2016. I have and am already feeling the pinch to stay on course… and it’s only been two weeks into the New Year!

What works best for me is making short lists I can keep handy. I, of course, have my personal goals – eat better, keep running regularly, be nicer to folks, go to church regularly, be sure to spend time with the girls – and all so far are going fine.

But the one that “gets” me, especially here at the office is – procrastination. Yep and as you’d imagine, I keep putting it off. So what I’ve decided to do this year is “just procrastinate less”. I’ve come to the realization that I can’t completely eliminate my issue, so I figure I’ll just chip away at it and see if, in time, I can beat it.

And, so far so good. I have my “to do” lists organized into buckets – sorted by Easy to the BHAGS (big harry ____ goals), my “project piles” and my “take home/bring back stuff” (you know, the stuff you put in your briefcase, carry home with great intentions to work on, take it out and spread it on the homework office desk – get busy with life at home – then the next day, pick it back up untouched, and bring it back to the office to only be recycled again.

One idea I’m going to try I heard from a friend. It’s called “don’t break the chain”. It actually comes from some online folklore credited to the famous comedian Jerry Seinfeld (he laughs that he is credited with inventing it) and goes something like this.

Hang a big wall calendar right where you can see it every day that shows all twelve months of the year. Then begin that goal or project you have – (for Jerry, it was to write multiple new jokes every day). Each day, as you work on the project/goal, put a big X on that day of the week when you have put time and thought into it and made progress – keep at it and “don’t break the chain”. Be honest with yourself, and see how long you can go, hopefully until the project/goal is completed. The habit and chain link will help you. And if you start another project, just use a different color X. I’m gonna give it a try right after my pal drops off the wall calendar and markers – (he knows me too well and figures I’ll “put off” getting the supplies).

Good Luck and know if you are wavering, or get stuck, feel free to give me a call. I’ll do my best to help you move through the muck and keep going. Together we can get through things and make for a better 2016. I will keep you posted throughout the year!

Also, we’d love to hear your resolutions and tips to stay the course – we’ll collect the best and share them down the road. Please send them along while we keep diligently plugging away at your PIA (Pain In The @#$) Jobs!





KHT Tips for Staying Warm

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Beauty and the Beast. Winter snows can certainly be beautiful but getting to work can occasionally be brutal. Case in point: Cleveland Plain Dealer front page from Friday, January 27, 1978. B-r-r-r-r-r-r.


As you know, heat management is something we take very serious here at KHT. And with the weather starting to shift, and the cold northern air and snow moving in, we thought it would be good to share some cold weather tips – and it all starts with paying attention to the science of, you guessed it, heat transfer.

Experts say the secret to staying warm requires the basic understanding of two key principles: conduction and convection. Conduction is the transfer of heat between two solid surfaces that are in direct contact with one another. If you’ve ever stood on a cold surface, such as icy pavement or a frozen pond, you’ve experienced conduction. Convection is the transfer of heat between a mass, such as your body against a moving fluid or gas, such as an icy winter wind that whips around you when outside. Understanding these two temperature impacting mechanisms and the workings of your body’s built in thermoregulatory system will help keep you warm and safe when the next polar vortex comes roaring into town.

Layer Up – You’ve probably heard this tip for years, but often don’t do it right. Sitting on a chilly bench or walking outdoors in the wind steals your body heat. A good base layer (think long underwear and thick, wool socks) keeps you from losing heat through conduction. Wearing an external, wind- and water-proof but breathable layer will protect you from heat loss though convection. And keep dry, as any moisture that can penetrate your feet or body parts will impact heat loss.

Stop the Shivering – Think of shivering as a warning sign that you need to get yourself someplace warmer, fast. When your skin temperature drops, shivering kicks in to keep your core temperature from falling, too. The spasmodic contracting and relaxing of your muscles consumes calories, and generates heat to replace the heat your body is losing. Once you start shivering your brain is telling your body it’s time to get to a warmer place.

Stoke the Furnace – Furnace management is a big part of what we do here. And as most of you know, the gang at KHT loves to eat. Being well fed and consuming more calories than you’re burning will actually help your body handle the cold better. Keeping your blood sugar up and staying hydrated may be just enough to provide the energy you need to keep warm.

Be Prepared – Heed weather warnings, and fill your car with water bottles, calorie-dense foods, warm blankets, extra gloves and an extra set of dry clothes…just in case. Make up a bag and store it in the back seat or trunk. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 25 percent of winter-related fatalities occur when people are caught unprepared out in a storm.

Skip the Booze – Enjoy Hot Chocolate – Sure, a brandy-laced “hot toddy” or a shot of schnapps sounds like just the thing to keep you warm on a bitter day. While a warm beverage will indeed raise your core temperature and help you withstand a chill, don’t spike it. Alcohol is absolutely the worst thing that somebody could consume if they are already cold.

Be Smart – Probably goes without saying, but when the thermometer really drops just stay inside. Make a fire, and spend quality time with the kids and loved ones. Like all storms, they pass, and when the temp settles back to normal, and the wind subsides, take a nice walk and enjoy the beauty of winter.

Thanks to Anne Herding at LiveScience.com for health tips. See her full article HERE.





May the New Year Bring You Good Fortune, Good Health and Happiness

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There will be fireworks ushering in the New Year all around the globe. Click HERE for a taste.  It’s a drone flying through exploding fireworks with a DJI Phantom 2 and filming it with a GoPro Hero 3 silver. Pretty sweet!


At the Kowalski house, we celebrate New Year’s Eve with family and friends, with hugs and kisses at midnight. On New Year’s Day, we take down the Christmas tree, put away all the decorations (usually while still in our PJ’s), watch the parades and some football and then can’t wait for dinner – a family feast of pork roast, sauerkraut and dumplings.


Happy New Year Wish

My Happy New Year wish for you
Is for your best year yet,
A year where life is peaceful,
And what you want, you get.

A year in which you cherish
The past year’s memories,
And live your life each new day,
Full of bright expectancies.

I wish for you a holiday
With happiness galore;
And when it’s done, I wish you
Happy New Year, and many more.

By Joanna Fuchs




Merry Christmas Everyone!

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May the spirit of Christmas and the love of Christ fill your home
and bless your families this holiday season and throughout the year.


from your friends at

Kowalski Heat Treating



Steve’s Guide to Enjoy the Season

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Wishing for a “White Christmas”!

There are so many events going on in town.  With Christmas coming up fast, I thought I’d share with your some of my favorites.  Put down the remote, turn off the cell phone, pack up the kids (or grandkids), hope for a little snow dusting and enjoy how NE Ohio celebrates Christmas and the Holiday season.

Holiday Tours of the Perkins Stone Mansion – Akron
Tour the Perkins Stone Mansion when it is outfitted with holiday decorations and cheer.
When: Friday and Saturday from December 18-19, 2015; 1-4 pm
Where: The Summit County Historical Society, 550 Copley Rd., Akron, OH 44320
Cost: $6 per person ages 6 and older
Contact: (330) 535-1120

FREE 2015 Holiday at Finwood – Elyria
The Elyria Parks & Recreation Department will once again transform the Finwood Estate into a winter wonderland. Enjoy both the inside and outside of the tastefully decorated estate and our very own Shupps Train display, with 10 trains cruising the tracks. Visit with Santa
When: December 2-23, 2015; 6pm-9pm
Where: Finwood Estate, 799 N. Abbe Rd., Elyria, OH 44035
Cost: FREE to the public. Monetary donations and non-perishable canned food donations will be distributed to Elyria Hospitality House.
Contact: (440) 326-1500

Horse-drawn Carriage Rides and Carolers at Gervasi Vineyard – Canton
Step into a vintage white carriage for a ride and enjoy the beautiful Gervasi grounds. While on property enjoy the sounds of carolers outside the Bistro and the Marketplace.
When: Carriage Rides and Carolers: December 18-19, 2015; 6pm-9pm; Vintage Carolers: 7pm-9pm: *Weather Permitting
Where: 1700 55th St. NE, Canton, OH 44721
Cost: $10 per ride (Cash only; up to 4 passengers) *Weather Permitting
Contact: (330) 497-1000

FREE Photos with Santa at All City Candy – Richmond Heights
All City Candy will be offering free photos with Santa Claus at the store on December 20, as well as on Christmas Eve Day. Help fill “Santa Sacks,” for patients at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital on Christmas Day.
When: Friday, Dec. 18: 4-7pm, Saturday, Dec. 19: 10am-7pm, and Sunday, Dec. 20: 12pm-5pm, and Thursday, Dec. 24: 12–5 pm
Where: All City Candy, 746 Richmond Rd., Richmond Heights, OH 44143
Cost: FREE
Contact: (216) 487-7070 or email info@allcitycandy.com

FREE Annual Holiday Model Trains Display at Puritas Nursery – Cleveland
13th Annual Display of Holiday Model Trains – Bigger, better, and more family fun than ever!
When: November 27-December 31, 2015; Weekdays 9am-8pm, weekends 9am-6pm, closing at 3pm on December 24 & 31
Where: 19201 Puritas Ave., Cleveland, OH 441352
Cost: FREE
Contact: (216) 267-5350

Glow at the Cleveland Botanical Garden – Cleveland
Glow transports you to a world full of seasonal cheer, where all-new wonders and returning traditions await you. Whimsical train ride, musicians and carolers, decorate a gingerbread house, decorated trees, holiday shopping, and more.
When: November 27, 2015-January 3, 2016
Where: 11030 East Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44106
Cost: $16/non-member adult, $12/non-member child, FREE for Garden members
Contact: (216) 721-1600, ext. 100

Ohio Station Outlet Santa Express Train Rides – Lodi
 Saturdays & Sundays from Nov. 28-Dec. 26, 2015 (12pm-5pm), Dec. 21-23, 2015 (12pm-5pm), and Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015 (12pm-3pm)
Where: 9911 Avon Lake Rd., Lodi, OH 44214
Cost: $7 per participate age 2 and up, FREE for babies under 12 months
Contact: (330) 948-1239

Sleigh & Carriage Rides at Ma & Pa’s – Burton
Every winter, all winter long, Ma and Pa hitch up the sleighs and take you out through the woods and out in the field and then back to the cabin for a warm fire, Ma’s homemade bakery, hot chocolate and maple coffee. Reservations are required. There is a carriage should there be no snow.
When: Dec. 1 thru mid-March Saturdays: 12pm-10pm, Sundays: 12pm-5pm
Where: 15161 Main Market Rd. (SR 422), Burton, OH 44021
Cost: $20 per adult, 11-16 Yrs. $10 per child ages 11-16, $5 per child ages 5-10, and FREE for children under age 4. (All rides include hot beverage and bakery.)
Contact: (440) 548-5521

Breakfast with Santa at Cornerstone Friends Church – Madison
Cost includes a great breakfast for all, personalized gift for the children, picture with Santa, stories by Mrs. Claus. Children will make a special ornament and reindeer food! Tickets can be purchased online.
When: Saturday December 19, 2015; Two seatings: 8:30am or 11:30am
Where: 2300 Hubbard Rd., Madison OH 44057
Cost: $15 per adult, $11 per child age 2-11, and FREE for children under age 2
Contact: (440) 428-6868

FREE Candlelit Walk and Caroling at Cleveland Metroparks – Bentleyville
Hike on a candlelit trail through the dark forest in near silence. Then gather around a campfire and sing carols into the night to warm our hearts with a warm cup of cocoa. Singing will take place in the Lodge if weather necessitates.
When: Saturday, December 19, 2015; 7pm-8:30pm
Where: South Chagrin Reservation, 37374 Miles Rd., Bentleyville, OH 44022
Cost: FREE
Contact: (440) 473-3370

Winter Solstice Celebration at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center – Bay Village
It’s the longest night of the year and we’ve filled it with all sorts of great family fun – hikes on a wintry trail, visits with nighttime animals and a family holiday activity. Visit the planetarium to learn about what a solstice is and experience the night sky. Be sure to find a few minutes to relax by the crackling fire. Please dress for the weather.
When: Sunday, December 20, 2015; 6:30pm-8:30pm
Where: 28728 Wolf Rd., Cleveland, OH 44140
Cost: $7 per person ages 2 and up, FREE for babies and 1 and under
Contact: (440) 871-2900




I Wouldn’t Trade This For The World.

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It’s been fun this anniversary year looking back at what happened 40 years ago when Dad started KHT. Inventions, patents, new products, sports milestones, technology, politics, singers, music, culture – so much to reflect on.

And while reading Dec 11, ’75 history this morning, something caught my eye – a simple sports trade. In 1975, when Kowalski Heat Treating was launched, the New York Yankees traded a successful player named George “Doc” Medich to the Pirates, and in return got Willie Randolph, Dock Ellis and Ken Brett. At the time, the sports writers had their criticisms and opinions. And to complete his 1975 lineup, George Steinbrenner caused more chaos in adding a player/coach named Billy Martin to manage the team. All of them went on, of course, to have great careers, and reach unseen milestones. And the rest, is well – history.

This got me thinking – what “trades” would I make?

Trade my position – no. Trade my passion for heat treating – no Trade time spent with Dad learning the ropes – no. Trade my awesome plant location overlooking the north coast – never. Trade my family support – nope. Trade my hard working staff or suppliers – hardly. And most important, trade away any of my customers – sorry, but that’s just not gonna happen.

Why no trades … because I’ve been blessed – to have great customers, great suppliers and vendors, great staff, great support – all backed by a great family work ethic – an honest approach to business, hard work, treating people right and sound business decisions, all started by my Dad so many years ago.

So while trades may work for the Yankees (and God knows their success – 27 World Championships all started by the acquisition of a guy named “Ruth”), I’ll stick with MY TEAM – my customers, my vendors, and my guys and gals out back, working hard everyday to manage your high tolerance production runs and solving your most challenging PIA (Pain In The @%$) Jobs.

For fun, take a minute this coming week, and go thank “your team” for what they do – you might be surprised hiding on the squad is your “Babe” just ready to break out and change your company’s history.





A Whole Week of “Thanks” to All

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The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, oil on canvas by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe (1914)


With Thanksgiving coming next week, I just want to say “THANKS”! Celebrating our 40th anniversary this year is amazing and exciting for the KHT Family.

All Our Thanks

  • To our wonderful customers who have trusted in us over the years.
  • To our reliable vendors who have supported us over the years.
  • To our hard-working staff who have made us great, time and again.
  • To all our friends, neighbors, and extended families – without your support, we could not have reached this milestone.
  • To Dad and Mom for providing the wisdom, encouragement, guidance and support all of these years.
  • And finally, to my wife and daughters – I am truly blessed.

May the blessings of Thanksgiving, the love of family, the nourishment of food and the goodwill of friends and family fill your homes this Thanksgiving week.

We are grateful for all you do.

And, on Thursday, may your toughest decision of the day be seconds or thirds or in my case fourths!





Puttin’ the Squeeze On

Two blank facing pages from an old pamphlet. There is very old, yellowed tape on the binding which has been broken. The paper is water stained, torn and yellowing. The edges are rough and corners are dog-eared.

Without question, the best part about Fall is heading out into the country to enjoy all the changing colors and finding fresh apple cider. There’s something about cider (heated of course… and topped with mini marshmallows) that makes me smile. For fun, I thought I’d pass along some history of cider making in the U.S. I found on-line, thanks to Chris Lehault from Serious Eats.

According to Chris, America’s love affair with hard cider, and sweet cider, dates back to the first English settlers. Upon finding only inedible crabapples, the colonists requested apple seeds from England and began cultivating orchards and grafting wood to produce the proper apples for eating and cider. Since it was trickier to cultivate barley and other grains (for the production of beer), cider became the beverage of choice on the family dinner table – even the children drank Cinderkin, a weaker alcoholic beverage made from soaking apple pomace in water. By the turn of the eighteenth century, New England was producing over 300,000 gallons of cider a year.

As settlers moved west, they bought along their love for cider, with the help of John Chapman (better known as Johnny Appleseed). Chapman, actually a missionary, traveled west ahead of the settlers and grafted small, fenced in nurseries of cider apple trees in the Great Lakes Region and Ohio River Valley (many of the original trees are thought to still exist today). It was not uncommon then to find small cider orchards on homestead grounds. After spreading throughout the country, cider’s popularity waned at the turn of the century as eastern and German immigrants brought with them a preference for beer, and furthered diminished enjoyment by Prohibitionists who burned trees to the ground and the Volstead Act, which limited hard cider production.

Luckily today, cider can be found on the grocery store shelves, in farmers markets and at local roadside stands. The best is the pure kind – fresh squeezed apple juice cider, made by combining multiple apple types, and pressing out the juicy goodness.

Here’s my favorite recipe: Mix a whole bunch of apples, press out the juice, drink.

This weekend, get some cider, heat it up in the microwave, add in a little cinnamon, (and marshmallows) and enjoy the flavor of the season. And if you know of a good orchard where they still make cider the old fashioned way , shoot me an email at skowalski@khtheat.com and I’ll share with our readers.