Title text: At least if you're really into, like, Turkish archaeology, store clerks aren't like 'hey, how 'bout those Derinkuyu underground cities!' when they're trying to be polite.
| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: For the Turkish archaeology geeks out there: flesh that part out!|
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
Social norm accepts casual small-talk as an ice breaker for interaction -- usually it is always safe to talk about the weather without hitting any disagreement as there are rarely any personal view point about the weather -- in contrast small talk is never about political subjects or similar where chances are that there are strong personal view points.
In this strip Cueball is an expert in weather systems, and when Hairy makes a comment about the weather he has problem deciphering if Hairy is asking for his expert opinion or is simply trying to make small-talk -- only weather experts would have this problem, as almost no other topic is suitable for opening a conversation in casual small-talk. Cueball switches to small-talk once he understand that Hairy is confused and didn't expect to get detailed expert tech-talk.
As to the jargon;
- Jet streams are strong air currents high in the atmosphere which have a big influence on the weather.
- 18z is 18:00 UTC (6 PM in Greenwich, England, 10 AM in California). See ISO 8601 at Wikipedia. The letter "Z" is used as 'Zulu' in the NATO phonetic alphabet, meaning just UTC.
- GFS is the Global Forecast System (also known as NCEP-GFS). It is a computer model used by the National Weather Service to predict the weather up to 16 days in advance. The model is run 4 times a day and the output is distinguished by the UTC hour it was started (18z in this case).
- Part of the prediction is the atmospheric pressure expressed in mbar (or mb). 960 mbar is very low pressure, which is usually associated with seriously bad weather (record low pressure for Minnesota was 963 mbar till 1998).
Store clerks are known for small talk about the weather as part of their sales talk. In title text, a clerk instead makes small talk about Derinkuyu Underground Cities, one of the most well-known archaeological sites in Turkey, which is a country very well known for its many well-preserved ancient sites from a broad range of time periods. It would be very tempting for Turkish archaeology geek to launch into a detailed conversation on the subject or related news.
- [Cueball and Hairy are talking.]
- Hairy: So, how 'bout this weather?
- Cueball: I know, right? The whole jet stream layer is nuts!
- Hairy: Um, sure...
- Cueball: The 18z GFS forecasts 960mb by Tuesday. Think it'll verify?
- Hairy: What?
- Cueball: ...Right. Sorry. Uh, yeah! Weather sure has been crazy.
- Weather geeks have it tough.