Category Archives: Cumulus clouds

Clouds continue to beguile, even when they’re tiny

As here,  just to reinforce that assertion a bit.  Its a link to a recent blog by my cloud-obsessed friend and author, Maria Mudd Ruth.  I strongly recommend buying a few of her books.  Really,  I do!

But in viewing our deep blue skies, pocked with little fluffy Cumulus clouds over the past two or three days, you would not need convincing that even tiny clouds are beguiling, a wonderful attribute for a planet to have.  Having mountains on a planet is great, too, and watching the interplay of clouds and their shadows on them is a never ending pleasure.  We’re pretty lucky when you think about it to be on a planet like this one.  Hope you think so, too.

No rain ahead, glumly, though some sprinkles are out there this morning as frontal cloud band passes over.  Just a little too high off the ground for real rain.  And the cloud tops aren’t quite cold enough to form much ice, too.  Those cloud tops get colder going to the NE, and so higher terrain up thataway (e.g., Show Low) are getting some light rain this morning.  Right now, there’s a little sprinkle just beyond Romero Canyon, so we got a little ice this morning in them clouds.

What was interesting is that I never saw no ice yesterday, to continue the slang of rock and roll, in another cheap attempt to reach out to another demographic.   The clouds were just a bit too warm for ice-formation, tops running in the -4°C to -5°C range according to yesterday afternoon’s Banner University of Arizona’s balloon sounding.  Some may have bulged up to nearly -10°C, but still not quite there.  I looked constantly for signs of ice and never saw none, and neither did you, of course.

The U of AZ balloon sounding for yesterday afternoon, released about 3:30 PM AST.
The U of AZ balloon sounding for yesterday afternoon, released about 3:30 PM AST, courtesy of MeteoStar., I hope.

Bases were cool, at about 4°C, at 11, 000 feet above sea level, or 8,000 feet above Catalina.  Tops, about 15,000 feet above sea level.  So, they were running around 3,000-4,000 feet thick with no ice.   This was a situation where dropping dry ice  into those clouds would have created snowfall, then sprinkles, that would not have fallen naturally.  Doubtful anything would have reached the ground anywhere near our elevation, however, but up  at Ms. Mt. Lemmon, something would have likely even measured from doing that far enough upwind.

In summary, yes, there are some fairly rare times you can get some precip out of clouds by seeding them and yesterday was one of them1.

Today the clouds are thicker, drop sizes therefore larger in those tops of a cloud band similar to the one we had yesterday evening.  As drop sizes increase, the temperature at which they freeze also increases.  Well, at least that’s what we found over and over again at the U of Washington.

The balloon sounding launched about 3:30 AM this morning from the U of AZ. Our cloud band is almost twice as thick as it was yesterday afternoon as bases lowered and tops went up some.
The balloon sounding launched about 3:30 AM this morning from the U of AZ. Our cloud band is almost twice as thick as it was yesterday afternoon as bases lowered and tops went up some.  The sounding, too, went right up into the middle of that band, now exiting the area.

The result, some ice has formed even though they’re hardly colder than just -9°C or -10°C (14°F).  Check the radar:

From Wundermaps, 6:219 AM.
From Wundermaps, 6:219 AM.

Here are some cloud shots from the past couple of days.  Should be some more great scenes today:

The last summer Cumulonimbus harrah. Goodbye sweet summer thunderstorms. :(
The last summer Cumulonimbus harrah. Goodbye sweet summer thunderstorms. 🙁  See you next year.
10:37 AM September 19th
10:37 AM September 19th.  A field of Cumulus fractus, those shred clouds from which even might oaks can form.  Not this day, though.
10:58 AM, September 19th still, way back there still. Hope you remember this scene. We now have a Cumulus mediocris. Work hard in life, try not to be "medocris."
10:58 AM, September 19th still, way back there still. Hope you remember this scene. We now have a Cumulus mediocris. Work hard in life, try not to be “medocris” if you can.
12:44 PM. Got pretty cloudy that day for a few minutes, then cleared off.
12:44 PM. Got pretty cloudy that day for a few minutes, then cleared off.
3:10 PM. After it cleared off and the clouds went small again, we had some nice shadow effects on our mountains.
3:10 PM. After it cleared off and the clouds went small again, we had some nice shadow effects on our mountains.
Due to time constraints, we now move ahead in the action.  Well, its not really “action” is it?

Well, not that much, just a day ahead….

4:02 PM, September 20th. Oh, so pretty Cumulus humilis against that deep blue sky. Thanks you, "Cosmic Muffen" or "Hairy Thunderer." (Allusions to "Deteriorata" by Firesign Theatre.
4:02 PM, September 20th. Oh, so pretty Cumulus humilis against that deep blue sky. Thanks you, “Cosmic Muffen” or “Hairy Thunderer1.”
4:48 PM, September 20th. A cloud street is launched off the Tucson mountains and sails over the Oro Valley and Catalina.
4:48 PM, September 20th. A cloud street is launched off the Tucson mountains and sails over the Oro Valley and Catalina.
4:49 PM. More dramatic shadows, ones produced by that cloud street.
4:49 PM. More dramatic shadows, ones produced by that cloud street.
6:24 PM, September 20th. The fading sun colorizes those last of the Cumulus.
6:24 PM, September 20th. The fading sun colorizes those last of the Cumulus.
3:15 PM, September 21st, another breezy day with small Cumulus.
3:15 PM, September 21st, another breezy day with small Cumulus.  I hope you like to see small Cumulus over and over again…

Moving ahead to yesterday and the day long cloud band….

6:19 AM, yesterday. That band of Stratocumulus had sprung up overnight, providing a really pretty sunrise color. Hope you saw it. Only lasted a couple of minutes.
6:19 AM, yesterday. That band of Stratocumulus had sprung up overnight, providing a really pretty sunrise color. Hope you saw it. Only lasted a couple of minutes.
7:17 AM. Not much upwind at this point but wind.
7:17 AM. Not much upwind at this point but wind.
12:05 PM. Some Altocumulus began to appear upwind of us, eventually merging in a band.
12:05 PM. Some Altocumulus began to appear upwind of us, eventually merging in a band.
1:48 PM. Our band is really beginning to consolidate at this time (looking S on Equestrian Trail Road, aka, Lost Hubcap Trail Road).
1:48 PM. Our band is really beginning to consolidate at this time (looking S on Equestrian Trail Road, aka, Lost Hubcap Trail Road).
5:10 PM. Bases had lowered to about 8,000 feet above us from the afternoon shot. Because the air way above us was cooling, the cloud began to sprout Cumulus towers. Looked for ice but none seen, so no virga around either, though it sure looked ready for that.
5:10 PM. Bases had lowered to about 8,000 feet above us from the afternoon shot. Because the air way above us was cooling, the cloud began to sprout Cumulus towers. Looked for ice but none seen, so no virga around either, though it sure looked ready for that.  Without ice, you’d be thinking tops must be warmer than -10°C (14°F).
5:52 PM. Our band remains in full display and will overnight. I would deem these clouds Stratocumulus, hold the ice.
5:52 PM. Our band remains in full display and will overnight. I would deem these clouds Stratocumulus, hold the ice.
6:09 PM. You can't have a better scene than our Catalina mountains highlighted by the setting sun. We are so lucky to be here!
6:09 PM. You can’t have a better scene than our Catalina mountains highlighted by the setting sun. We are so lucky to be here!
6:27 PM. Still going after all those hours, but not doing anything, just sitting around up there looking pretty.
6:27 PM. Still going after all those hours, but not doing anything, just sitting around up there looking pretty.

For the best weather discussion, see Bob M.

The End.

—————————–

1Allusions to “Deteriorata” by The National Lampoon Theater.

Summer thunderstorms continue to say goodbye in spite of suggestions that they had already said, “goodbye”

Oh, well.  When you’re sloppy and asleep at the wheel, think you know more that you really do, that’s what happens, “weather surprises” that shouldn’t be.

But, what a gorgeous day again!  Really, with the smoky skies gone I am so appreciating a blue sky pocked with Cumulus and Cumulonimbus clouds!

Lettuce reprise yesterday in all its unexpected glory:

8:56 AM. Shallow Stratus-like cap cloud tops the Catalinas, a sign that the lower level moisture is still abundant. But is there anything topside of these clouds? I didn't think so.
8:56 AM. Shallow Stratocumulus-like cap cloud tops the Catalinas, a sign that the lower level moisture is still abundant. But is there anything topside of these clouds? I didn’t think so.  Too dry for anything deep was the flawed thinking.  I really admire people like myself that admit error.
10:46 AM. The early Cumulus sprouts. No problems here, so pretty, too.
10:46 AM. The early Cumulus sprouts. No problems here, so pretty, too.  You can see how the wind increased with height by looking at this crosssection of the clouds and how they lean to the right in their upper portions.
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11:55 AM, an hour later. What’s that to the SW, upwind, and in the distance?   Huh.
11:55 AM, an hour later,zoomed view. No doubt about it, all Cumulus hell is breaking loose.
11:55 AM, an hour later,zoomed view. No doubt about it, all Cumulus hell is breaking loose.  That cloud is going to reach the ice-forming level.  This is incredible considering what was thought about the day this very morning.  I’m happy that it looks like its going to rain somewhere, but sad for myself that I did not see this happening because I was lackadaisical. There is no happiness that exceeds having rain in a desert and you predicted it!
11:56 AM. Cu just sitting around just looking pretty over there to the NW.
11:56 AM. Cu just sitting around just looking pretty over there to the NW.  BTW, this house will be for sale soon with its million dollar view;  yours for half-price, $500,000 if you call today!  (CMP used to live here. so it has some extra caché.)  haha
12:08 PM. Look at the ice in that turret! "Unbelievable", having indicated the clouds were going to be too shallow for ice development.
12:08 PM. Look at the ice in that turret! “Unbelievable”, having indicated the clouds were going to be too shallow for ice development.
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12:14 PM. Rain shaft develops… Maybe its a one-shot wonder. Pretty, though, as EVERYTHING was yesterday. Too seductive for my camera!

 

12:23 PM. I am beside myself, in conniptions looking at this jolt; looks nuclear, to reflect a newsy theme of the day.
12:23 PM. I am beside myself, in conniptions looking at this jolt; looks nuclear, to reflect a newsy theme of the day.  And now we have some serious shafts, too.
12:43 PM. Thunder and the whole bit, a major shaft roll across the desert NW of Saddlebrook and Catalina. Wow.
12:43 PM. Thunder and the whole bit, a major shaft roll across the desert NW of Saddlebrook and Catalina. Wow.  What a day this turning out to be!
1:02 PM. Almost ideal shot of a Cumulus congestus all by itself there. Catalina Mountains really didn't participate much, no rain shafts developed withing sight.
1:02 PM. Almost ideal shot of a Cumulus congestus all by itself there. Catalina Mountains really didn’t participate much, no rain shafts developed withing sight.
3:38 PM. The major cells had "left the building" and for a time looking upwind, there was an impression that it was all over, the subsiding, dry air was now mashing down cloud tops to where no more ice could form. That was not to be the case!
3:38 PM. The major cells had “left the building” and for a time looking upwind, there was an impression that it was all over, the subsiding, dry air was now mashing down cloud tops to where no more ice could form. That was not to be the case!
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3:48 PM. Some nice shadows around, not that the action is over…  Was it?  Nope.
3:50 PM. A distance rain shaft! Unbelievable! The day is still giving after it looked like all that subsidence was coming in! (I was pretty excited here, as I am sure you were, too.)
3:50 PM. A distance rain shaft! Unbelievable! The day is still giving after it looked like all that subsidence was coming in! (I was pretty excited here, as I am sure you were, too.)
4:08 PM. More astounding by the minute, considering how late it was in the day, for this big boy to erupt.
4:08 PM. More astounding by the minute, considering how late it was in the day, for this big boy to erupt.  Will it hit Catalina?  Will is last long enough to do that?
4:16 PM. Taller yet, though some of this straight up look is actually due to the top of this Cumulonimbus calvus leaning over us.
4:16 PM. Taller yet, though some of this straight up look is actually due to the top of this Cumulonimbus calvus (verging on the hairy looking, “capillatus” version_  leaning over us.  That’s partly why the rainshaft has thinned from the prior photo.  Unless another turret shoots up, it may be all over.  Some thunder rumbled out of this cloud, too.  Well, it moved rapidly toward the NE from here, missing most of Catalina, the bottom evaporating up leaving only an icy debris cloud during the next half hour.  No photos.  I was driving somewhere….which prevents taking photos as has been mentioned here on numerplus occasions.  (Hah!  “numerplus”, a typo that might become a new word!)
4:29 PM. This beauty beyond the Charouleau Gap. Can you tell that the top knob has converted to ice?
4:29 PM. This beauty beyond the Charouleau Gap. Can you tell that the top knob has converted to ice?  I hope so.
6:01 PM. Pretty scenes aren't always just in the sky, but in the lighting of stuff, to be poetic. And, with a rain gauge in it, can it be any better as a scene?
6:01 PM. Pretty scenes aren’t always just in the sky, but in the lighting of stuff, to be poetic. And, with a rain gauge in it, can it be any better as a scene?

Since I was clueless yesterday, will remain quiet about today’s weather, though we do have low level moisture around as clouds are again topping the Cat Mountains.

We’ll still get into some early winter like weather in only a week–that’s pretty much in the bag.  Probably no rain, though, just a bit of a very windy day or two and very cold air for the time of year plopping over us.  Our TEEVEE weather folks are surely all over this!

The End.

 

Ice-forming cloud street peppers Sutherland Heights with large raindrops, 5:11 to 5:22 PM; trace of rain recorded!

It was quite a surprise to this observer who claims to be a “cloud maven”, but whose credentials must be questioned, even if I do say so myself.  Was thinking plain old small to moderate Cu, hold the ice.

But in a long cloud street, appearing to emanate from Kitt Peak, some ice started to show up in the cloud row upwind of us.  Wonder if you saw it?  The first ice happened around 3:45 PM, followed by a couple drops at 3:59 PM.    Well, as Rob Reiner might say, enough of my yammering, lets get on with the cloudumentary:

Yesterday’s clouds, lot of ’em

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12:00 Noon. Small Cumulus clouds have arisen all over, its breezy, and some Cumulonimbus clouds can be seen on the distant horizon, on is there on the right. SO NICE to see our usual deep blue skies back!
12:00 PM or is it AM? Noon, anyway. Cumulonimbus calvus launches northeast of the town of Oracle.
12:00 PM or is it AM? Noon, anyway. Cumulonimbus calvus launches northeast of the town of Oracle.  Can you tell that this fatter cloud is all or mostly all ice in its upper portion?

 

12:01 PM. There's a little cloud street coming off Pusch Ridge and heading toward Catalina. Later the wind direction changes and the cloud streets come from the southwest rather than south as here.
12:01 PM. There’s a little cloud street coming off Pusch Ridge and heading toward Catalina. Later the wind direction changes and the cloud streets come from the southwest rather than south as here.
12:36 PM. Not much has changed. Maybe its because its only been 35 minutes since the last photo....
12:36 PM. Not much has changed. Maybe its because its only been 35 minutes since the last photo….
2:38 PM. Still not much going on. No ice or anything, Cbs way over there to the north. Might as well take a nap than be conscious through this slack period. Nice shadow though... Wonder what's causing it?
2:38 PM. Still not much going on. No ice or anything, Cbs way over there to the north. Might as well take a nap than be conscious through this slack period. Nice shadow though… Wonder what’s causing it?
2:38 PM. Hah! A cloud street is right over ME!!! Looks like its coming from as far away as Kitt Peak!
2:38 PM. Hah! A cloud street is right over ME!!! Looks like its coming from as far away as Kitt Peak!  Cloud streets are pretty harmless, don’t really do anything except cause shading over favored areas.  They recur over the same sites over and over again when the moisture and wind are right.  Notice, too, that the wind has shifted in direction some 45 degrees or so since the cloud street that formed over Pusch Ridge around noon.
3:28 PM. That old cloud street off'n Kitt Peak is still chugging along, passing right over Catalina/Sutherland Heights. Can't really expect anything to happen though in the way of "weather." Just a harmless cloud street...
3:28 PM. That old cloud street off’n Kitt Peak is still chugging along, passing right over Catalina/Sutherland Heights. Can’t really expect anything to happen though in the way of “weather.” Just a harmless cloud street…
3:35 PM. Cumulus clouds are fattening up, though. Maybe theyre getting some extra calories, solar ones! Wow, where did that come from?!
3:35 PM. Cumulus clouds are fattening up, though. Maybe they’re getting some extra calories, solar ones! Wow, where did that come from?!
3:36 PM. Even some ice starting to form in these little guys! Wow, did not expect that!
3:36 PM. Even some ice starting to form in these little guys! Wow, did not expect that! (That little whitish veil, center right.  That means precip is coming out, snowflakes melting on the way down.  But, coming out the side of the cloud like that means its almost impossible for them to survive the fall to the ground.
3:56 PM. Cloud street still intact. But, OMGosh, one has ice in it! Can you see it, that frizzy stuff, center? And, its going to pass right over!
3:56 PM. Cloud street still intact. But, OMGosh, one has ice in it! Can you see it, that frizzy stuff, center?  And, its going to pass right over! (A few drops fell for just seconds at 3:59 PM!)  Amazing, did NOT see this coming!
Approximate locations of Catalina and Kitt Peak OBSY on a 4 PM 1-lm resolution visible satellilte image from the University of Washington Huskies Weather Dept.
Approximate locations of Catalina and Kitt Peak OBSY on a 4 PM 1-lm resolution visible satellilte image from the University of Washington Huskies Weather Dept.  Image used without permission.  That little white, broken streak is our cloud street that passed overhead, some cloud developing into congestus sizes, and spewing ice.
4:51 PM. Cloud street still intact. Windy, too. Maybe that fatter cloud, center, will develop some ice..... Its gonna pass right over, too.
4:51 PM. Cloud street still intact. Windy, too. Maybe that fatter cloud, center, will develop some ice….. Its gonna pass right over, too.
5:09 PM. Abandoned station to get supplies, and on the way back on Golder Ranch Drive, this nice scene of the shadowed Catalinas. Not taken while driving, of course, That would be wrong!
5:09 PM. Abandoned station to get supplies, and on the way back on Golder Ranch Drive, this nice scene of the shadowed Catalinas. Not taken while driving, of course, That would be crazy!  As a photographer you live for these kinds of moments.
5:14 PM. Cloud street still intact! Large drops falling from cloud overhead; would be from melted graupel/soft hail up there!
5:14 PM. Cloud street still intact! Large drops falling from cloud overhead; would be from melted graupel/soft hail up there!
DSC_8230
5:14 PM. Looking straight up at all that ice up there. Amazing since it wasn’t expected.
5:26 PM. Since we were on the threshold where the ice was just forming up there, more rain fell out just downwind of us. If you look closely you'll see there's a rainbow to prove that I am not lying about rain falling over there.
5:26 PM. Since we were on the threshold where the ice was just forming up there, more rain fell out just downwind of us. If you look closely you’ll see there’s a rainbow to prove that I am not lying about more rain falling downwind from us.  Might even have measured!
5:47 PM. Our cloud street is releasing from its origin point and the tail end will now pass over, No more drops, as the cloud elements became shallower under a fading sun.
5:47 PM. Our cloud street is releasing from its origin point and the tail end will now pass over, No more drops, as the cloud elements became shallower under a fading sun.
6:31 PM. The remaining small Cumulus clouds made for some golden color at sunset. Very nice.
6:31 PM. The remaining small Cumulus clouds made for some golden color at sunset. Very nice.

Enough lower level moisture for Cumulus again today, but even smaller ones than yesterday.  Since the wind is already noticeable now at 6:26 AM, better mention that we could have noticeable winds again today.  (Much windier yesterday than anticipated by CMP; wind was not on my radar if wind could be seen by radar (well, of course it can when they are raindrops or bugs. Hah!)

Big intrusion of unusually cold air still coming into the West in about a week.  Some of that will reach right here in Catalina really giving the sense that its truly football season.

The End.

Last of the Cumulonimbus

DSC_8114
10:56 AM. Things looked promising except clouds like this over the Catalinas moved away from us. And no Cumulonimbus clouds formed over them, but rather downwind toward and beyond the town of Oracle late in the afternoon.
Ann DSC_8118
3:30 PM. Not much going on; a very thin veil of ice was dropping out of these clouds, once the tops of the Cumulus cloud to the right and out of view. Hope you caught it. There weren’t very many ice displays until later.
DSC_8134
5:31 PM. That blasted haze/smoke layer is still evident! at the center is a glaciating turret, giving hope this whole cloud cluster could erupt into something. The model from the overnight run suggested just such an event!
DSC_8145
6:09 PM. Hah! A shower at last! And the movement is in the general direction of Catalina!
DSC_8150
6:36 PM. Stupendous sunset view, and this cluster is getting closer!
DSC_8157
6:42 PM. Zoomed view near last light. Portions of this complex consisting of a weak thunderstorm  did pass over, but no shafts, just a few drops for a “trace” of rain.  By this time bases had risen to about 14,000 feet above sea level, or about 11,000 above Catalina and near the freezing level, so a lot of evaporation on the way down for those poor droppies.

Last call for Cumulus clouds today, maybe a distant Cumulonimbus top off to the north.  Then one of those long clear and dry spells of fall gets underway….

 

The End

Goodbye summer storms; new book out about clouds!

First, I will shamelessly plug a book on clouds, “A Sideways Look at Clouds”,  by a well-published and acclaimed author friend, Maria Mudd Ruth.   Its about her odyssey into them,  mentally and physically,  after she realized they were something she really had not paid much attention to before mid-life,  then she had to know EVERYTHING about them!  Its a great read, infused here and there with humorous anecdotes.

You can sample the contents here.

—————

Now, on to Catalina’s  clouds and weather…

6:43 PM yesterday.
6:43 PM yesterday.  If you look hard you can see there wasn’t much of a rain shaft with these guys.  Bases were too high, updrafts pretty weak, so not a lot of water “topside” to come out.

Not that there have been that many rainstorms since the end of July.

But it would seem that today marks the meteorological end of the summer rain season as dry westerly winds sweep our remaining tropical air to the east today.  The mods think there is a chance for a couple of high-based thunderstorms in the area around Catalina late in the day.  But bases will be so high that not a lot of rain will reach the ground even if one passes right over us.  And, they’ll be moving in from the SW or W today due to encroaching westerlies.

In a little over a week, too, you’ll be hearing about early snow in the Rockies and West!  We’ll have a day or two of those gusty, dry southwest winds that accompany our winter storms as well.  You’ll get a real feel for the season change then.

Check out this plot from the NOAA spaghetti factory showing (blue lines) that an unusually strong upper trough will absolutely dominate the West in just over a week

spag_f216_nhbg
Valid on Thursday, September 21st at 5 PM AST. As this develops it draws a tropical storm northeastward out of the Mexican Pacific into New Mexico. Lucky for them!
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1:48 PM, September 11. Nice to see those blue skies again after so many smoky days! Here Cumulus humilis, Cumulus fractus (shred clouds) dot the sky.
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4:56 PM, September 11. The remaining smoke is still enough to produce crepuscular rays below Stratocumulus and Cumulus (blob on the right).
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6:30 PM. Orangey sunset speaks to remaining smoke. The clouds are a Stratocumulus with Cu underneath on the right.
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4:46 PM yesterday. The drama of lighting and shadows is about the only drama we might see now for a LONG time! Still these kinds of scenes are so wonderful; never get tired of them, which is strange.
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4:57 PM. Even yesterday, amid all the blue, you could still see a lofted layer of haze, typically thickest near cloud base and within cloud layers where the relative humidity is highest and some of the haze particles have “deliquesced”, adsorbed water, fatten up and scatter the light more effectively helping to produce that hazy look in toward the sun (called, “forward scattering.”)  Can you see the slender icy top protruding down there in Mexico.  We’ll go zooming next so you can see it.  Good for you if you entered it in your cloud diary!
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4:57 PM. Zoomed view of that little protrusion of ice. Only a few drops would come out something like that as it developed. Here its pretty much in its dead phase, likely no base under this ice cloud. The horse icon wind vane is that of a trotter racing horse. Mom was a horse trainer and this is hers!  In case you don’t believe me again, see below:
Mom in 1957 or so.
Mom in 1957 or so.  She passed a year ago in July.
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4:58 PM yesterday. More shadow drama.  Expect more of this later today.

 

The End

 

Ugh continues in southern AZ

See for yourself:

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5:43 PM. Poor clouds (Cumulus humilis and fractus having to ingest all that smoke).
6:35 PM.
6:35 PM.  Gritty not pretty.
Smog report from the US NAVY Monterrey branch for the West.
Smog report from the US NAVY Monterrey branch for the West.  And look how bad it is in the Pac NW! (Lower right panel).

Our persistent easterly flow is dragging smoke that circulated from the Pac NW and MT fires into AZ since that smoke was circulated southward into the southern Plains States as we saw in those back trajectories from a couple of days ago.

Ten day back trajectory for 3000 m above ground level, ending yesterday at 11 AM AST. Huh.
Ten day back trajectory for 3000 m above ground level, ending yesterday at 11 AM AST. Huh.
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Ten day back trajectory for 200 m above ground level ending yesterday at 11 AM AST. Looks like some air from Houston drifted came over us. Wow, what a surprise that is!
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Ten day back trajectory for 1500 m above ground level ending yesterday at 11 AM AST. Another, “huh.”
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FOUR day back trajectory for 500 m above ground level ending yesterday at 11 AM AST. Probably pretty accurate. As you can see smoke has come all the way from the Gulf of Mexico across southern Texas to get here. Amazing. Most likely, its still smoke, though, from the widespread and numerous fires in the Pac NW and MT that drifted all the way down there before heading over here.

Some Cumulonimbus clouds are foretold to develop in the region today, more tomorrow.   This should mean some clarification of the air as the smoky air is mixed over a great depth.  Also it appears that the air will be coming from a less smoky direction, more from the south in two or three days, along with a much greater chance for significant rain, and that should help get Arizona skies back to the ones we love!

The End

Nice sunset again yesterday; local tortoise crosses road unharmed

Giant homework assignments (i.e., controversial cloud seeding manuscripts for journals) seem to go on and on, and so can’t really talk clouds and stuff so much, with all the usual obligations of living (e.g.,  like vacuuming, washing windows, pulling some weeds,  but not too many for habitat saving purposes,  removing a pernicious, spreading hybrid cactus with microscopic glockets,  akin to growing your own asbestos, and preparing a home we used to live in here in Catalinaland for sale). Perhaps you’d like to make a HUGE offer on it…  That would be great!  Thanks in advance for making a HUGE offer!  Its where I started blogging, so there is that bit of historicity.  haha

From yesterday evening, these:

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6:52 PM.

.

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7:01 PM. Dissipating Cumulonimbus sheds its final raindrops.
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7:01 PM. Just pretty Cumulus bases.
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7:01 PM. Zooming on the scene.

Seems like another dry day today, though with “Cumulonims” here and there.  Rain chances pick up as we close out the month.  Way behind average for August;  now at only 1.10 inches here in The Heights of Sutherland.   Average is 3.36 inches, our wettest month.

In neighborhood news….

Below, the saga of the tortoise.  I parked and waited for him/her to get across Equestrian Trail Road.  There was a small rise in the road from where he was and someone in a hurry would have smashed him flat.  This is who I am and why I write controversial papers about cloud seeding.  Some do gooder has to do it, even though in the latter case you become a persona non grata in your specialty, your work isn’t cited when it should be by “scientists” who know about it, etc. Back to torti….

Wonder if anyone out there saw that “The Desert Speaks” program on PBS two nights ago where there was a herpotologist that spent many nights patrolling roads to get critters off the road so that they don’t get squashed.  What a guy;  a hero really!  I think I could do that if I wasn’t so cloud-centric.

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8:47 AM.
8:47 AM.

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The End.

Post includes rainbow photos for popularity’s sake; 0.14 inches of rain (what other “inches” of something would it be?) dampens Sutherland Heights

Nothing much else here of too much interest except the usual cloud blabber… haha

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7:00 PM.
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7:04 PM. Hope you saw these!
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5:50 AM. Moon dodging clouds, Altocumulus ones.  Moon dodgers?  Did you know that the University of Washington sport’s teams were once known as the “Sun Dodgers”?  How funny izzat?  It’s truly amazing to me what you learn here.
2:47 PM. Icy tops move toward the Catalina Mountains.
2:47 PM. Icy tops move toward the Catalina Mountains.
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3:54 PM. Not much going on over the Catalinas. But, can you spot the first ice from these clouds? You’d have to be pretty darn good to do that.
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3:54 PM. Zooming…. There it is! Have to look hard for the arrow and the bit of ice haze below that flat section. This would be a great ob day for an aircraft, since it would mark the threshold of temperature where ice is  starting to form. Deeper, colder clouds from this threshold level would have more ice, a lot more.  This level can vary from day to day, depending mostly on the sizes of droplets in clouds.  With bases near freezing yesterday, this level would likely have been at the -12° to -15°C level, up around 20,000 feet above sea level.  Bases were around 14,500 feet above sea level.
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5:23 PM. Nice lighting. I like lighting and lightning, no so much lightening, since a storm could be ending then, or if its around dawn, its OK.  You can see two eyes, squinting….
5:43 PM. Nice base streaming from Pusch Ridge enlarges as it came almost overhead! Looks promising for a SPKL. Moving car out from carport so's I don't miss a few drops.
5:43 PM. Nice base streaming from Pusch Ridge enlarges as it came almost overhead! Looks promising for a SPKL. Moving car out from carport so’s I don’t miss a few drops.
5:54 PM. Fine strands of rain now becoming visible!
5:54 PM. Fine strands of rain now becoming visible!
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6:19 PM. Strands of rain in full display in RW-. Its measuring, not just a few drops! Need to roll up windows in car!
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7:13 PM. Not much happened just a little west of Catalina. Nice sunset, too.

Looks like another day for a chance of rain late….

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Powering up

Not much going on lately, so will dip into the archives from two days ago.  One cloud in particular was so spectacular in its defiance of gravity, rocketing upward the morning of the 4th.  So here are shots from that day…

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6:46 AM, Aug. 4: The day began with a pretty normal looking patch of Altocumulus perlucidus (honey-comb pattern). No virga, so its likely not too cold. The sounding suggests it was up at 16,000 feet ASL, or 13 kft above Catalina at about 0°C (32 F).

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10:05 AM. Thar she blows! Just a spectacular jut from over the Mogollon Rim area, and a telling sign of what was immediately ahead for us.
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10:53 AM. Was doing yard work, under some trees, and then came out to see this amazing sight (Cumulus congestus erectus). Ran for camera, you have just seconds to a minute or two before it begins to fall apart due to entrainment of dry air that makes a cloud look ragged and frayed. Will it form ice? Is it cold enough up top?  Should show up in a couple of minutes if it is going to.
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11:00 AM. Ice formation well underway as you can see by the frizzy, fibrous texture above the halfway mark up this cloud. At the time it seemed like it might be a big day for TSTMs with this kind of vertical rocket cloud shot so early. But, no.  I would term this cloud, a Cumulonimbus calvus or capillatus, even though there is no visible rainshaft yet.
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11:00 AM. Going zooming…you can see that virtually this whole top is glaciated, and that fingerling, top left, shows some fallout of ice, likely aggregates of ice crystals. When concentrations are high, as would be the case in this glaciated turret, the crystals often lock together to form snowflakes. In cloud microstructure and modeling terminology, the stuff falling out would be termed , “precipitation ice”,  and most of that in the  fingerling, “cloud ice.”  I hope you’re happy now.
11:05 AM. An icy being seems to be leaping out of the new Cumulus congestus clouds that sprang forth so rapidly. That icy "being" is all that's left of the original turret.
11:05 AM. An icy being seems to be leaping out of the new Cumulus congestus clouds that sprang forth so rapidly. That icy “being” is all that’s left of the original turret.
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11:09 AM. Kind of in the area of “beings” now. Those new Cumulus cloud sprouted up rapidly to fill the void left by our first cloud. But here it appear to take on the shape of a being waving, “Hey, look at my icy left hand!”
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11:52 AM. Thought this frizziness, texture of the ice made me think they might be “warm crystals”, that is ones that form at temperatures higher than -10°C, which would be needles and sheaths…. I sure wish I had a Learjet, get up there in a hurry, find out for sure…. The afternoon sounding supports that speculation with tops likely limited to those higher temperatures, but not the morning one
12:49 PM. One Cumulonimbus calvus stage here, was potent enough to produce a bit of thunder, maybe the last we'll hear for many days.
12:49 PM. One Cumulonimbus calvus stage here, was potent enough to produce a bit of thunder, maybe the last we’ll hear for many days.
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1:00 PM. Looking to the west, you could see the drier air moving in as evidenced by the lack of any buildups for as far as you could see, and also in the pitiful clouds over the Tortolita Mountains. It was a hard time, knowing the end was at hand.  And there it is, below:

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