Weather

Petrichor

Petrichor Today’s topic sits at the center of the Venn diagram comprised of “fascinating science,” “fun vocabulary,” and “fantastic aromas.” This trio might rest near the top of the rankings for possible The Mountains Are Calling Venn diagrams.  Some scents occupy unique positions in our experiences and memories. We all have things we enjoy smelling, but most …

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Arcus Clouds

Arcus Clouds The second full week of June produced some extreme weather across the United States. Yellowstone National Park endured a 200-500 year flooding event that swept away homes in the overfull rivers and might keep the area closed to visitors for months. A heat dome covered much of the country, producing triple-digit Fahrenheit temperatures. And that heat prompted …

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Light Pillars, 22° Halos, Tangent Arcs, Bottlinger’s rings, Parry Arcs, and Circumzenithal Arcs

Light Pillars, 22° Halos, Tangent Arcs, Bottlinger’s rings, Parry Arcs, and Circumzenithal Arcs, and More! In our two previous articles, we discovered diamond dust and sun dogs. While these phenomena are righteous on their own, they are singular manifestations of a larger class of optical splendors. They both arise thanks to ice crystals in the …

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Sun Dogs

Sun Dogs “two mock suns rose with the sun and followed it all through the day until sunset.” – Aristotle, Meteorology In our previous examination, we learned how it’s possible for snowfall to occur on cloudless days in the form of diamond dust. This precipitation transpires when water vapor turns into ice crystals near the …

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Diamond Dust

Diamond Dust Have you ever found yourself outside on a cold, clear, still day and noticed a snowfall? No clouds above to produce the precipitation; no gusts to blow up fallen snow. If so, you might have experienced a phenomenon known as diamond dust. If you’ve never seen this strange happening, you’re not alone. Diamond …

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Atmospheric Rivers

Atmospheric Rivers It’s an understatement to say November 2021 did not treat British Columbia and parts of Washington well. Catastrophic rain and subsequent flooding ravaged the landscapes, crippled infrastructure, and killed at least five people. Parts of the Canadian province received 11 inches of rain in two days. Dikes and levees were inundated and overcome. …

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Sprites, Elves, Trolls, Pixies, Ghosts, Gnomes, and Blue Jets

Sprites, Elves, Trolls, Pixies, Ghosts, Gnomes, and Blue Jets No, we’re not traveling today to Middle-earth or into the belly of a dungeon crawler. Instead, we’ll take to the skies. All the fantastical characters of today’s title are real phenomena in the upper atmosphere! Lightning strikes – photo by Mircea Madau Most of us are …

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