Well, on some days, there were Altocumulus clouds, too, helping to blot the sun. Altocumulus clouds are mostly or all liquid clouds, if you care, which I doubt. But then you are here, wasting time on this web site about clouds, so maybe you do care!
But, to conitnue the title’s theme, what a remarkable streak here in the “Atacama Desert” of Arizona where it has been said that it has never rained. It certainly hasn’t rained here in recent memory. And, will we have a truly dismal wildflower display? Could be, due to the absence of fall rains that are so important in producing good displays.
And while there has been a pattern change, as there always is sooner or later, the conditions for rain just will not develop. We are now in a “warm in the West, cold in the East” pattern of jet stream flow, that the atmosphere seems to like; gets stuck in it for days to weeks at a time. A big ridge of high pressure will be deflecting the jet stream into Alaska and to where its toasty warm in “Utqiaġvik” (formerly Barrow; new name not pronounceable by non-native peoples–haha, just kidding, but what does that dot mean above the letter “g”?!) with lots of precip for them. Then that jet shoots down into the Rockies and upper Mid-West bringing masses of Arctic air and snow (the formerly warm air gets modified like mad when sitting on snow and ice–yes, there is still some ice and snow in Arctic regions, contrary to some popular beliefs). But, what about in 50 years? That is the question…
No rain shows up for southern Arizona for two more weeks in the models. Oh, me.
The only thing that will be fun in the next two weeks is looking at the hourly reports for Mount Washington, New Hampshire over the next two weeks, and see how cold and windy it gets. Do you know that once (1989) it was -44°C (-47°F) at Mt. Washington with winds of, oh, I dunno, 100 mph or so? Wind chill probably was around -500°F….. The craziest thing about that long ago ob was that they were reporting “icing”, liquid cloud drops hitting and freezing. But, how could they be liquid at -44°C?
Well, its been reported, strangely believe it, as we like to say here, that liquid drops have survived to between -40°F and -50°C by motorcycle-riding, atmospheric scientist, Kenneth Sassen, when he was at the University of Utah. Utah is located north of Arizona. Ken, if I may, thought it was due to sulfur in the droplets associated with volcanic aerosols, so it wasn’t “real” water, but rather the kind of water geoengineers want to inject to cool old mom earth. Maybe, if true, that icing report at Mt. Washington wasn’t “real” water, either, but polluted water from cities and factories to the NW where the wind came from….
BTW, when you get bored some more with our own weather, the obs for KMWN can be found here. You’ll be glad you’re in Arizona when you look at them. Well, you’ll be glad you’re anywhere but THERE! Maybe some geoengineers should spend some time up there instead of proposing crackpotty schemes that would change our sky color. I demand, as persons of the 1960s would, of course, that the people of earth be allowed to vote on such schemes BEFORE they are implemented!
Oh, yeah, about clouds…..after all, this is supposed to be, “cloud-maven” country…
The End, for now. Have some other chores to plug away on.
Here’s a nice one from the day before as the clouds rolled in, starting with Cirrus and Altocumulus, lowering to Stratocumulus later in the afternoon.
Yesterday’s clouds; an extraordinary day with a little drizzle amid light showers
Hope you noticed the true drizzle that occurred yesterday, namely, fine (larger than 200 microns, smaller than 500 microns in diameter), close TOGETHER (critical to the definition of “drizzle”) drops that nearly float in the air. They may make the least impression, or none, when landing in a puddle.
When you see drizzle, you have the opportunity of chatting up your neighbor by educating them informally to what drizzle really is (many, maybe most, TEEVEE weatherfolk do NOT know what “drizzle” is, btw), and 2) by telling your neighbor, if he/she is still listening to you, that the droplets in the clouds overhead must be larger than 30 microns in diameter, or better yet, “larger than the Hocking-Jonas diameter of 38 microns, at which point collisions with coalescence begins to occur” and “drizzle is not produced by ice crystals in the clouds overhead; they’re not enough of them to produce ‘fine, close together drops.'” Your neighbor has likely left the building at this point, but, oh, well, you tried.
Here, in Arizona, shallow clouds, such as we had yesterday, hardly ever can produce the broad droplet spectrum in which clouds have droplets larger than 30 microns in diameter. Its because this far inland from the ocean, where the air is very clean, the air has picked up natural and anthro aerosol particles that can function as “cloud condensation nuclei” (CCN). As a result of ingesting dirt and stuff, clouds have too many droplets here as a rule for the droplets in them to grow to larger sizes. They’re all mostly less than 20-25 microns, sizes in which even if they collide, they can’t coalesce.
In “pristine” areas, if you go to one, such as on a cruise out in the oceans, droplet concentrations in clouds are much lower, and even a little water that might be condensed in a shallow cloud can produce a broad spectrum, one that extends to droplet larger than 30 microns.
So even little or shallow layer clouds can precip over the oceans, produce drizzle or light rain showers (in which the larger drops are bigger than 500 microns in diameter). Of course, here we recall that the (whom some consider “villainous”) geoengineers want to stop drizzle out over the oceans so that clouds have longer lifetimes, are darker on the bottom, and reflect more sunlight back into space.
Those guys can be lumped into the same ilk as those who want to change the color of the sky from blue to whitish or yellowish by adding gigantic amounts of tiny particles in the stratosphere, again for the purpose of cooling the planet! Unbelievable. Please ask before doing this!!!
A Pinatubo sampler for what “geoengineering” would do to our skies, say, sunsets in particular. I took this photo from the University of Washington’s research aircraft in 1992 off the Washington coast in onshore flow. But we saw these same sunsets, sunrises, yellowed by the Pinatubo eruption of June 1991 everywhere we went, including in the Azores in June 1992.
OK, pretty boring, whiney, really, so inserting picture of a nice horse here to make people feel better if you’ve been depressed about what our scientists have been pondering to do about global warming other than controlling emissions:
Later….drizzling Stratocumulus, same view:
The second extraordinary thing about yesterday was that the top temperatures of these clouds was around -10° C (14° F), temperatures that ice does not form act as a rule in Arizona. To get ice at temperatures that high, you also need larger cloud droplets, and they have to occur in the -2.5° C to -8° C range. In this range, it was discovered that falling ice crystals, mostly faster falling ones like “graupel” (aka, soft hail) when colliding with larger drops, ice splinters are produced. The cloud droplets must be larger than 23 microns in diameter in THAT particular temperature zone, something that would occur more often in our warm, summer clouds, but would rarely be expected in our winter ones.
Again, it goes back to clouds in inland regions ingesting lots of natural and anthro aerosols that cut down on droplet sizes in clouds (by raising droplet concentrations in them). Our recent rains have helped cut down on that process on ingesting dirt, for sure, and was a likely player yesterday. Furthermore, our winter clouds are moisture challenged relative to the summer ones with their tropical origins and high cloud base temperatures, a second reason not to expect larger droplets in our winter clouds.
Here is the TUS sounding with some writing on it for yesterday afternoon from IPS MeteoStar. (Satellite imagery was also indicating warmer than usual tops for precipitating clouds yesterday.):
Here’s the punchline: If clouds are drizzling, then they are ripe, if the tops get to lower temperatures than about -4° C for what we’ve termed “ice multiplication” or “ice enhancement”. A very few natural ice nuclei at temperatures between -4° and -10° C, say, starts the process, those forming “soft hail” which then leads to ice splinters. This is the leading theory of this anomaly of ice in clouds at temperatures only a little below freezing, if you think 23° to 14° F fits that definition.
There are exceptions where this process did not explain the ice that formed at such high temperatures, so standby for further elucidation about how in the HECK ice forms in clouds at some point in the future.
As usual, no time to proof, so good luck in comprehending what’s been written.
The weather just ahead:
The second main rainband is just about here at 9:25 AM. Cloud tops will be deeper and colder than in the prior rains, raising the possibility of some thunder today, and maybe another third of an inch of rain. Watch for an windshift line cloud (“arcus” cloud) might well be seen today. That’s always dramatic and exciting here in Catalina cloud heaven.
Only a couple of drops here overnight. Measured around Reddington Pass and in the other Catalina Foothills, the well-to-do one, but that’s not good enough for a post. Hell, the Altocumulus/Altostratus clouds weren’t even that interesting yesterday, but if you do want to see them again, go here.
Nothing in the way of rain in sight now for another two weeks. Ugh.
Also, I am against “geoengineering” where you mess with low clouds like Stratocumulus via aerosols to make them brighter on the top, thus, darker on the bottom, to reflect more of the sun’s light back into space. Thought you would like to know that. Lotta money about to head into crackpot (IMO) preliminary study schemes like that now days. Haven’t we made a big enough mess without making more of a mess with some ludicrous attempt to change clouds over vast regions of the earth, as would be necessary to have the “desired” effect of cooling it?