Category Archives: Definitions

Everything you could want in a summer rain season day except a good rain; toad finds relief in dogs’ water bowl

8:11 PM yesterday. This surprising and humorous sight! We kept wondering why there was dirt in the dogs' water bowl in the morning. We thought a javelina or coyote had sipped out of it. Looks pretty happy in there!
8:11 PM yesterday:. this surprising and humorous sight! We kept wondering why there was dirt in the dogs’ water bowl in the morning. We thought a javelina or coyote had sipped out of it. He looks pretty happy in there!   But how did he get in without tipping the bowl over?  He just barely fits !

 

Now for some disappointing weather and cloud talk…

Well, not much rain, anyway, just 0.04 hundredths here.   Nice to see, though.  For a time it looked like we were going to get fully shafted by that complex coming over Sam (Samaniego) Ridge around 5:30 PM AST.

On the one  hand. we got to enjoy plenty of thunder and some big booms a few times, on the other, an OK rainbow as the rain crept closer on lion’s feet, some gusty winds, 25-35 mph,  that blew stuff around, and on a fourth hand, an OK summer rain season sunset.

But let us begin by going  back to Sunday for a moment and view an interesting contrail, an old one that looks like a version of CIrrus uncinus.

10:07 AM. Cirrus uncinus anthrogenitus. Yes, that's the new name of older contrails. The long hooks mean that the air was pretty much saturated with respect to ice below the contrail, allowing the contrail tufts to produce long streaks before evaporating in a dryer layer below the moist one. Got it?
10:07 AM, Sunday, Sept. 3rd.   Cirrus uncinus anthrogenitus. Yes, that’s the new name of older contrails that resemeble natural Cirrus The long hooks mean that the air was pretty close to  saturation with respect to ice below the contrail, allowing the contrail tufts right behind the jet to produce long streaks before evaporating in a dryer layer below the moist one.  This contrail remnant is likely more than an hour old, the oldest portion to the right, the younger portion to the left.
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10:07 AM Sunday, Sept. 3rd.
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12:09 PM. Nice to see Cumulus almost leaping off the Catalina Mountains at last, though in continuing smoky skies. Huh. “Smoky Sky.” Could be a western singer from LA, maybe Burbank.
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2:29 PM. Cumulus congestus stage reached!
3:32 PM. The drama of lighting, not lightning, though not AS dramatic.
3:32 PM. The drama of lighting, not lightning, though not AS dramatic.
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3:32 PM. At the same time as the shadow drama, thunder is being heard from this stuff–doesn’t look well organized now. A few drops hit just after this shot.
3:33 PM. A crown up there! Wow. Indicates a stupendous updraft went right up over me! That's why this little guy is producing thunder, though no real shaft came out.
3:33 PM. A anvil crown up there! Wow. Indicates a stupendous updraft went  up right over me! That’s why this little guy is producing thunder, though no real shaft came out.
3:37 PM. Grew a bit AFTER passing over, of course, though still no major shaft, just an occasional rumble.
3:37 PM. Grew a bit AFTER passing over, of course, though still no major shaft, just an occasional rumble.
4:26 PM. Weak, almost pathethetic, Cumulonimbus clouds with an occasional rumble, formed over the Catalinas. The rainshafts were weak, like this one, implying not a lot of water was lifted up. Bases were cold, below freezing is one reason.
4:26 PM. Weak, almost pathetic, Cumulonimbus clouds with an occasional rumble, formed over the Catalinas. The rainshafts were weak, like this one, implying not a lot of water was lifted up. Bases were cold, near the freezing is one reason, lack of size and depth, too, chipped in to create a sprinkly puff.
4:40 PM. Its upwind from Sutherland Heights, but looks as weak as the prior Cbs.
4:40 PM. Its upwind from Sutherland Heights, but looks as weak as the prior Cbs.
5:29 PM. Was inside for an hour and came out to this monster right upwind of us! Yay! CONTUS thunder, too! Wow.
5:29 PM. Was inside for an hour and came out to this monster right upwind of us! Yay! CONTUS thunder, too! Wow.
5:37 PM. This is looking "awesome", finally a big dump headed our way!
5:37 PM. This is looking “awesome”, finally a big dump headed our way!

 

5:43 PM. "Incoming!"
5:43 PM. “Incoming! Incoming!”  I wonder if the neighbors can hear me?  But, wait a minute, that looks like a tinge of blue on the left over there towards Oracle.  Oh, no, not a wide as thought.  Wind hitting real good, though.  Maybe it will push something up over us.  (Nope.)
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6:42 PM. The day ends with collapsing Cumulonimbus clouds and their fine (that is, transparent) rainshafts.
6:43 PM. The day ends with a rosy glow. Huh. Rosy Glow? Could be a name for a western singer from Tucson! Its amazing how many western singers cloud maven person can come up with!
6:43 PM. The day ends with a rosy glow. Huh. Rosy Glow? Could be a name for a western singer from Tucson! Its amazing how many western singers cloud maven person can name.

U of AZ WRF-GOOFUS mod doesn’t think a shower will happen for another couple of days.  Since we have Ac cas this morning, I am looking askance at that output, hoping its dead wrong!

 

The End

August disappoints: a look back at a disappointing August, and then a look forward at haze

August rainfall total in Sutherland Heights:  A measly 1.10 inches, to editorialize that bit, rather than to just report facts.   Average August rain here is  3.16 inches.  Egad.

End of looking back….”What’s the Use” (Tuxedomoon) said it best, well, maybe.

What about the haze?  Where’s it coming from and its awful! And its here again today.   Reminds one who lived in southern California of summer skies in southern California, hazy, whitish, the orange- colored sunsets that people sometimes thought were “so pretty” but they were ugly because they were orange because of smoke and smog and s like that.

Where’s it coming from, to repeat?  Not sure.  But see back trajectories below.

These suggest its coming from the east in the last day or so of the trajectories.  The trajectories start high up because we’re in the descending air branch of an upper air anti-cyclone that’s dessicating the air, preventing even little baby Cumulus from forming.

————-

Lidia’s moisture will help some, but it appears no rain will reach us today,   Dang.

But things get more promising for at least a short return of the summer rain season (remember, the real monsoon is in India) in the immediate days ahead,  phrasingly vague enough to insure a great forecast verfication! haha

DSC_7815 DSC_7814Looks across Catalina and Oro Valley toward the Twin Peaks area yesterday afternoon.  “Egad”, to repeat a mild expletive.

6:44 PM. Sunset over the Tortolita Mountains, where else would it be from Catalina (at this time of year)?
6:44 PM. Orangey sunset over the Tortolita Mountains, where else would it be from Catalina (at this time of year)?  The orange suggests a smoke aspect in the aerosol.
Back trajectory ending at 500 m above ground at Tucson at 11 AM AST.
Four-day back trajectory ending at 500 m above the ground and at 11 AM AST yesterday over Tucson.
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Four-day back trajectory ending at 2000 m above ground and at 11 AM AST over Tucson.

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.

The End

 

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….

The End

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:

The End

‘Nuf said

Now, that’s pretty funny.  We specialize here in too much said! Its a niche thing.  Of course, not enough can be said about our past July. Take a look:

2016-17 WY progress repor thru July

This, of course, was a new July rainfall record for Catalina/Sutherland Heights going back to 1977, anyway.  Had to adjust vertical axis of this chart, too.  Formerly, it stopped at only FOUR inches!  The moon lore was right!  It’s interesting how the ancient lore of early peoples that I made up a month ago was more accurate than the Climate Prediction Center’s prediction of an equal chance of above or below normal rain in southern Arizona while something incredible was on the doorstep!  Kind of like last winter in the whole West where record amounts of snow and rain piled up over a huge region, and that, too, was also unforeseen “going in.” Think how horrible it would be if those predictions were always right.  Sure, billions could be saved by such accurate outlooks, but then the element of surprise would be gone.  How bad would that be?

After the paucity of rain in the preceding five months, and with June carrying into around July 10th this year with its blazing heat and no clouds, all that rain that followed with thunderations day after day,  the attendant rain-cooled  “breezes” to 50 mph on occasions, blowing stuff all around everywhere, were sure welcomed (?).  (Another case of innovative punctuation to emphasize a point, whatever it is.)

Let us begin today by examining the greenth of the 2017 summer on our Catalina Mountains so far, thanks to July’s copious rains.  Hah! The climate really has changed.  Looking into growing bananas now…DSC_6621 DSC_6542 DSC_6534 DSC_6510Now for some cloud photos from yesterday:

9:40 AM. Like most of our summer days, it begins with mid-level layers of Altocumulus, in this case shown here, "translucidus" variety (rather thin, it is.) It was up around 13,000 feet above the ground, if you care.
9:40 AM. Like most of our summer days, it begins with mid-level layers of Altocumulus, in this case shown here, “translucidus” variety (rather thin, it is.)  It was up around 13,000 feet above the ground, if you care.
11:07 AM. As the Altocumulus clouds thinned, burned off, the rise of the Cumulus begins, here a gigantic one spurts upward telling you that there are going to be some blasters yesterday. Very exciting to see this. I can feel your heartbeat as you, too saw it.
11:07 AM. As the Altocumulus clouds thinned, burned off, the rise of the Cumulus begins, here a gigantic one spurts upward telling you that there are going to be some blasters yesterday. Very exciting to see this. I can feel your heartbeat as you, too saw it.
11:51 AM. Wasn't long before giant Cumulonimbus clouds were dumping over there on the town of Oracle. Nice town it is, btw. However, these clouds weren't much electrified, telling you that the updrafts weren't particularly strong yet, even though tops here were probably pushing around 30 kft.
11:51 AM. Wasn’t long before giant Cumulonimbus clouds were dumping over there on the town of Oracle. Nice town it is, btw. However, these clouds weren’t much electrified, telling you that the updrafts weren’t particularly strong yet, even though tops here were probably pushing around 30 kft.
11:52 AM. Cumulus congestus, and Cumulonimbus calvus start unloading over there toward I don't know where exactly.
11:52 AM. Cumulus congestus, and Cumulonimbus calvus start unloading over there toward I don’t know where exactly, but its just on the other side of the Tortolita Mountains.  You’ve probably noticed how clear the sky has been, completely free of haze.  That’s good for rain production, since the cleaner conditions are the larger the drops can be in the clouds because there are fewer of them compared to clouds forming on hazy days. Nat King Cole sang about summer haze as early as 1963, so we know that haze is not a new thing, like CO2 is.  You won’t find people singing about CO2 in ’63!
11:58 AM. The three amigos.... A slight rainshower can be seen in the slight haze in front of the mountains below the center Cumulus. Tops leaned way out again due to weak updrafts, and since rain forms in the upper portions, it fell away from the mountains in these weaker Cumulus.
11:58 AM. The three amigos…. A slight rain shower can be seen in the slight haze in front of the mountains below the center Cumulus. Tops of these spindily Cu  leaned way out again due to weak updrafts and and stronger winds aloft from the S.  Since rain forms in the upper portions, it fell a little away from the mountains in these weaker Cumulus.
12:02 PM. Dump truck, fully unloading! Not messing around anymore here.
12:02 PM. Dump truck, fully unloading! Not messing around anymore here.  With cloud bases running around 15°C (59°F) there was a ton of water up there.  Well, thousands of tons.
12:06 PM. I know what you're thinking: "Oh, look, a baby dump. Isn't it cute!"
12:06 PM. I know what you’re thinking: “Oh, look, a baby dump. Isn’t it cute!”  Suggests an abnormally narrow turret poked to far higher altitudes that those around it.
12:24 PM. More Cumulus congestus clouds joined the fray and this became a major 2 inches or more producing system over on the Tortolita Mountains.
12:24 PM. More Cumulus congestus clouds joined the fray and this became a major 2 inches or more producing system over on the Tortolita Mountains.
1:01 PM. Now the outflow surge can be seen on the left, pushing new Cumulus turrets above it.
1:01 PM. Now the outflow surge can be seen on the left, pushing new Cumulus turrets above it.  This was about the peak of it, as it gradually wound down.  Its  certain that flash flooding occurred with at least 2 inches  having fallen in the core.

Well, the day closed on a disappointing note as Cumulonimbus debris clouds overspread the sky, killing new convection.

5:45 PM. Altostratus "cumulonimbogenitus." The day went quietly into the night.
5:45 PM. Altostratus “cumulonimbogenitus.” The day went quietly into the night.

The weather way ahead

Looks like below average rain for August.  :(, as we say.  Hoping for error here.  Average August rainfall here in Catalina/Sutherland Heights is 3.16 inches.

 

The End

Sutherland Height residents rejoice and grouse over drought and road bustin’, super local, 3.36 inch “toad strangler”

“Frog strangler”,  folk expression from the South for extra heavy rains, btw,  which is what we had, except we have toads, not frogs.

Here’s what I think happened to produce 3.36 inches on Sutherland Heights.  The winds were from the east at cloud levels.  Cumulus spawned off the Catalinas/Mt Lemmon area, but the wind shear brought the tops over Sutherland Heights about the time they got cold enough to form ice, yesterday around -5° to -10°C   (higher than the usual temps for ice formation because the cloud bases were so warm.  I know what you’re thinking, “huh?”   Take my word for it, that’s the way it works;  the warmer the bottom of a cloud, the higher the temperature at which ice forms in it.  Of course, over the oceans cloud base temperature doesn’t make that much difference…  I better quit here on that.

Where was I?  Oh…   So, leaning out from the mountains is where they began to dump their loads beginning in mid-morning, when updrafts were likely modest.  The first one missed Sutherland Heights altogether (except for a sprinkle, but drenched Oracle Road and the Basha’s area.  And, likely because it didn’t rain on the east side of the Catalinas until later, those monster turrets kept spawning upwind of us.

The second in this series was a stronger turret, one that could stand more upright against the wind shear and dropped its load on Sutherland Heights.  Indicative of stronger updrafts in that one was the onset of thunder, first aloft, then in ensuing turrets shooting upward, increasing cloud-to-ground strokes until it was unsafe to go outside without the thought of being fried.

And of course, the rainrates picked up, and stayed that way as new turrets launched off the same zone of the Catalina Mountains through mid-afternoon.  That in itself was remarkable, and if you looked around, you could see that it wasn’t raining all that much either to the north or south of Catalina, and that the rainshafts faded as they trekked across Oro Valley.

The net result, an incredulous 3.36 inches here (3.37 inches in NWS-style gauge here), bound to raise eyebrows concerning possible rain gauge fraud;  nothing like it anywhere in the local area!  The ALERT gauge on the Golder Ranch Bridge only had 1.46 inches and Samaniego Peak,  1.93 inches!  There will be very few days in our lifetimes like yesterday.  Go to rainlog.org to see how amazing our local amount was in comparison to other gauges, once again raising the specter of fraud due to an outlandish amount1.

And, again, it was closer to what a REAL monsoon day in India, say, at Cherrapunji, where passing heavy rains are accompanied by the occasional thunderclap.  So, in a sense, yesterday you were climatically transported to a land faraway, where tree roots are so big they make bridges out of them…

Some photos of this event, well, too many, really, after all, too many cloud photos is our niche!:

10:03 AM. The MO for yesterday's rains in miniature. Cumulus launched off around Mt. Lemmon and leaned out over Sutherland Heights as they rose upward. As the tops got higher over us, ice began to form in them, and, down and out it came. Some of the ice, because cloud bases were so warm, began to rain
10:03 AM. The MO for yesterday’s rains in miniature. Cumulus launched off around Mt. Lemmon and leaned out over Sutherland Heights as they rose upward. As the tops got higher over us, ice began to form in them, and, down and out it came. Some of the ice, because cloud bases were so warm (about 60°F, 15° C), probably was frozen raindrops.
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11:08 AM. Only SPKLS so far, but since tallest part of cloud is over Sutherland Heights, some large drops are almost imminent.
11:13 AM. Rain begins in earnest.
11:13 AM. Rain begins in earnest.
11:27 AM. Shafts intensifying.
11:27 AM. Shafts intensifying.
11:53 AM. Pretty much out of control, just snapping away at this incredible intensity of rain!
11:53 AM. Pretty much out of control, just snapping away at this incredible intensity of rain!
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11:53 AM. One second later. Haha. It was three seconds later!
12:37 PM.
12:37 PM.
2:20 PM.
2:20 PM.
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3:16 PM. The CDO wash is full, but not huge, where standing waves a few feet high form (as in the 4+ inch dump of September 2015).
4:06 PM. The raging Sutherland Wash. Was making a lot of noise down there, mostly from this area near the Cottonwoods where the wall is. You could hear it probably all over Sutherland Heights if you listened carefully. Was raining lightly at this time, OCNL LTG, too.
4:06 PM. The raging Sutherland Wash. Was making a lot of noise down there, mostly from this area near the Cottonwoods where the wall is. You could hear it probably all over Sutherland Heights if you listened carefully. Was raining lightly at this time, OCNL LTG, too.
4:06 PM. Another view of the raging Sutherland Wash, probably near its peak.
4:06 PM. Another view of the raging Sutherland Wash, probably near its peak.
4:25 PM. The lightning from this once proud Cumulonimbus cloud has ended, and now it is resigned to be lightly raining Nimbostratus or Altostratus, I don't which, but I what I do know is that its, "cumulonimbogenitus." And don't tell me you haven't heard of "genitus", either, because its a chapter in the Bible!
4:25 PM. The lightning from this once proud Cumulonimbus cloud has ended, and now it is resigned to be lightly raining Nimbostratus or Altostratus, I don’t which, but I what I do know is that its, “cumulonimbogenitus”, “Genitus, of course, being one of the books of the Old Testament Bible–you find information like this that you won’t find on other sites.

The End, of a very hurriedly thrown together piece.  Got actual work that must be completed soon, something if you read it, it would be so boring you’d want to shoot yourself before you finished it!  Sciency stuff.   Oh, well, nose to grindstone now.

 

Some recent clouds

May 24th:

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May 25th, yesterday, starting with sunrise color

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Later yesterday morning, some interesting “Altocumulocirrus”, a rare breed indeed, mocking/mimicking Altocumulus.

Maybe Cirrus floccus would come closest to the true name, but to every eye but that of a genuine cloud maven person, it would be deemed just “Altocumulus”.  Check these out to see how good you were–and NO correcting your cloud diaries!!!!

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5:47 AM. Two layers are visible, a distant Altocumulus castellanus one, and the higher, much higher, cirriform clouds resembling Altocumulus. If you don’t believe me, the sounding from the U of AZ is below.
The TUS balloon sounding for 5 AM AST yesterday. The Altocumulus patches were up around 16,000 feet, and the cirriform clouds around 33,000 feet and at about -50°C
The TUS balloon sounding for 5 AM AST yesterday. The Altocumulus patches were up around 16,000 feet, and the cirriform clouds around 33,000 feet and at about -50°C (-58°F).  Had to cuss that bit because I sensed some doubt out there.
6:38 AM. Same cloud layer. Seriously, how can you not call this "Altocumulus", it mimicks it so well. But these globules are all ice, no liquid water of course anywhere near -50°C unless we believe the reports of Simpson (1963) who purported liquid at -62°C. Nobody believed him though; me ,neither.
6:38 AM. Same cloud layer. Seriously, how can you not call this “Altocumulus”, it mimicks it so well. But these globules are all ice, no liquid water of course anywhere near -50°C unless we believe the reports of Simpson (1963) who purported liquid at -62°C. Nobody believed him though; me ,neither.
7:37 AM. Another view of this cirriform layer making a mockery out of Altocumlus. Note that there is that tiny bit of shading, too, in these cloudlets.
7:37 AM. Another view of this cirriform layer making a mockery out of Altocumlus. Note that there is that tiny bit of shading, too, in these cloudlets.
5:24 PM. The convection leading to cellular structure was still evident pretty much the whole day. Again, we have a problem. Shading like this is not officially permitted with in cirriform clouds except in the "spissatus" species. One would be thinking "Altostratus" here since that cloud is widespread and can have gray shading. When you look at the TUS sounding nearest this time, you find that the moisture is still contained in the upper reaches of the troposphere, where it was in the morning, and that would be in the "etage" for high clouds, 33,000 feet or so above sea level.
5:24 PM. The convection leading to cellular structure was still evident pretty much the whole day. Again, we have a problem. Shading like this is not officially permitted with in cirriform clouds except in the “spissatus” species. One would be thinking “Altostratus” here since that cloud is widespread and can have gray shading. When you look at the TUS sounding nearest this time, you find that the moisture is still contained in the upper reaches of the troposphere, where it was in the morning, and that would be in the “etage” for high clouds, 30,000 feet or so above sea level.
The TUS balloon sounding for 5 PM AST, May 25th. The temperature of that icy layer ranged from about -35°C on the bottom to -60° C at top.
The TUS balloon sounding for 5 PM AST, May 25th. The temperature of that icy layer ranged from about -35°C on the bottom to -60° C at top, so there would not be any liquid water in it even though is might appear in some places.  Where’s my Lear jet?  Need to check these things out and in a hurry!

Now for some prettiness from yesterday evening:

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The End

Your cloud dairy for May 9th

Haha, most readers won’t even notice! But maybe some cow-centric, instead of cloud-centric, folks will drop by, raising the worth of this blog to above $35 if sold….that according to a “biz” site.

Had a rainbow yesterday. Hope you noticed. It was pretty early and overhead west. I think the clouds did not have ice in them. The rain echoes were not showing up on the radar, suggesting the beam went over the tops. Sounding suggested tops might have been as cool as -5°C.    In any case, the drops were able to tip the bucket a couple of more times, and along with yesterday afternoon’s brief, light rain showers our total has climbed to 0.37 inches for the storm. Not bad, though as in money, you always want more.

These storm breakup days are always our prettiest, and that’s often what this site is about, being pretty. Yesterday had some fabulous scenes;  couldn’t stop shuttering cam. It is a real neurotic compulsive behavior pattern, as afflicts some of us cloud and storm-centric folk. Check Mr. Olbinsky’s work; his work goes beyond phenomenal whether you want a wedding photographer or want to see a storm chasing video.  But it takes that kind of eccentric energy to be special, to stand out as he does.

Here, though, we let the storms and cloud scenes, such as they are, hope for the best, and let them come to us….  Kind of a lazy storm chaser’s attitude.

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5:49 AM. I really do think this rain came out of clouds that had no ice…maybe 70% sure.
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6:27 AM. Stratus fractus springing to life as Cumulus clouds lining the sides of Sam Ridge (Samaniego). Showed how much instability, the ease of which the slightly warmer air in these clouds could jut upward yesterday
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6:49 AM. Just pretty and so green after the rain.
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6:50 AM. Same scene, focusing in on a highlight.
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7:01 AM. More prettiness in a highlighted baby turret.
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7:01 AM. In case you missed it, here it is again, a little zoomed.
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9:03 AM. Rise of the Cumulonimbus capillatus incus (has anvil). This scene had a lot of portent for the day. You knew more would be forming, maybe drift over us later.
9:33 AM. I thought this was a pretty neat scene, though its just a cloud shadow lining up with the rise of the Catalina Mountains.
9:33 AM. I thought this was a pretty neat scene, though its just a cloud shadow lining up with the rise of the Catalina Mountains.
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9:36 AM. Hmmmm. What the HECK is happening now? Low center was off in the direction, headed for us, with still cooler air aloft. But where are the Cumulonimbus clouds that should come with it? (They formed rapidly, but later.)
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2:23 PM. By mid-afternoon, things were swell all around, lots of Cumulonimbus clouds. They seemed to fade, though, as they marched toward Catalinaland, as this complex did. The rather sharp line in the lower part of the photo, and beyond which you can see distant clouds, is where the melting level was. This is often appears to be the “cloud base” but its really not in the sense of having cloud droplets. If you were to fly in it, all you would see is rain and melting snow just below this line, and just snowflakes above it. If the whole sky was covered in this, we’d call it Nimbostratus, and say the base was at that melting level.
3:42 PM. Another pretty major band appears to be headed this way. DIdn't make it.
3:42 PM. Another pretty major band appears to be headed this way, rotating around that low center, shifting northward.  Didn’t make it.
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6:35 PM. Somewhat promising that a nice dark line and heavy shafts were out there, thinking they might shift northward again. Nope. Fizzled.

Still cold aloft, so having some nice Cumulus today is in the bag, the early Stratocumulus devolving into Cu, that is.

The End

galaxy-like storm pinwheels toward Catalina; 0.32 inches of RAIN logged so far

At this hour, a small,  pin-wheeling, galaxy-like vortex is drifting toward Catalina.  Last night the town was ravaged by 0.30 inches of rain and winds to 50 mph around 2 AM as one of its pin-wheeling bands came through, likely with a big arcus cloud fronting it.

This was the first measurable rain in Catalina since I don’t know when.  You probably don’t remember, either, its been that long.

More rain is expected as the little pin-wheeling vortex moves overhead of the little village of Catalina today and on to New Mexico tomorrow.

Plunked  below is the Pima County ALERT rain map amounts with the Sutherland Heights amount plunked on it as well.  We did pretty well it appears, compared to surrounding amounts.  Yay.  Our desert will love this!  The greatest amount here is 0.46 inches at Dan Saddle in the CDO upper watershed.  I guess he hasn’t found it yet.

Ann local rain mapn 20170509
As of 4 AM today. If you want an update go here. Also here’s the U of AZ rainlog site. Should be pretty well filled in by 8 AM or so.

Some Clouds

8:46 AM. Nice little cloud streets stream off the Catalinas from the southeast. Buys-Ballots Law says there a low to your right facing upwind, or, to our southwest.
8:46 AM.  This pretty scene shows a nice little cloud streets composed of Cumulus  streaming off the Catalinas from the southeast. Buys-Ballots Law says there a low to your right facing upwind, or, to our southwest.  Looked kind of like a summer scene, didn’t it?  The green tinge continues in the desert and on the mountains, even though it hasn’t rained, its been warmer than normal since I don’t know when.  Pretty remarkable when you think about it.

And if you mention our desert vegetation, as I have,  how can you not exult over the fabulous blooms on one of the most horrible plants on earth (haha), as far as spines and glockets go, the prickly pear!

11:48 AM, though I suppose the time is not needed. So pretty.
11:48 AM, though I suppose the time is not needed. So pretty, our “Arizona Rose.”  Some day, they’ll GMO the spines and glockets away, I’m quite sure…
1:41 PM. By early afternoon there were lots of clouds with ice in them and virga and light rain showers around. Techincally this could be a Cumulonimbus, but its a pretty weak one. The bases were again, as the day before above the freezing level. You can see that in the snow plume virga below, one that disappears at the melting level unless the shaft is very dense.
1:41 PM. By early afternoon there were lots of clouds with ice in them and virga and light rain showers around. Techincally this could be a Cumulonimbus, but its a pretty weak one. The bases were again, as the day before above the freezing level. You can see that in the snow virga below, which disappears as the flakes melt just below the freezing level.
3:14 PM. Here's a nice cross-section showing that in general, the shower clouds weren't especially deep about this time.
3:14 PM. Here’s a nice cross-section looking toward Oracle Ridge down Equestrian Trail Road showing that in general, the shower clouds weren’t especially deep at this time, so the shafts coming out of them weren’t so great, either.
3:54 PM. It wasn't long before further deepening occurred and significant showers rolled across the OV. Mom's gone now, but that her trotter horse wind vane now perched on our fence....
3:54 PM. It wasn’t long before further deepening occurred and significant showers rolled across the OV. Mom’s gone now, but that her trotter horse wind vane now perched on our fence….
6:18 PM. Those showers pretty much missed Catalina, but as the evening approached some breaks in the clouds allowed those gorgeous highlighting of our mountains. Its a form of heaven, I think.
6:18 PM. Those showers pretty much missed Catalina, but as the evening approached some breaks in the clouds allowed those gorgeous highlighting of our mountains. Its a form of heaven, I think.

 

The Weather Way Ahead

Our models, supported by those ensemble “spaghetti” maps are making most of May look pretty darn nice, at least through 20th-25th as the upper air configuration reprises troughs twixt now and then.  They’re looking like dry cool fronts, though, no rain in ’em.   Snowbirds done left too soon!

 

The End