Category Archives: The moon

In case you missed them…a 2008 full moon and, moving ahead, yesterday’s sunrise

The full moon of December 11, 2008. Thought maybe you'd like to see it again coming up over the Catalinas.
The full moon of December 11, 2008. Thought maybe you’d like to see it in case you missed it, or see it again if you did see it.  Maybe you had a special memory with this moon.
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7:09 AM. Altocumulus perlucidus with a little lenticular underneath.
7:43 AM.
7:10 AM. Zooming and zooming.
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7:10 AM. Zooming some more.
7:14 AM. Iridescence is evident in the cloud ripples just above the mountain silhouette.
7:14 AM. Iridescence is evident in the cloud ripples just above the mountain silhouette.
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7:16 AM, Contrails were soon visible in our Altocumulus layer, the aircraft making it at the right edge of the photo. Appeared to be in a climb out going right to left. And, when you see these “high temperature contrails” in Altocumulus, you can be sure ice will form and rifts will develop as a little bit of light snow develops and falls out.  The jillions of ice crystals in the contrail cause the droplets in the Altocumulus to evaporate, in a way, gutting it. An ice crystal is like a low pressure center when amid droplets;   the droplets evaporate and those water molecules deposit themselves on the ice crystal, a process named after the discoverers, Wegner-Bergeron-Findeisen.   Eventually the crystal is large enough to settle out and a clear streak results unless the air is rising rapidly and can replace the droplets (as generally happens in storms).  Sometimes the lift in the Altocumulus layer is enough that a clear canal caused by an aircraft can fill back in after many minutes.
7:18 AM. Two aircraft contrails, about a minute old.
7:18 AM. Two aircraft contrails, about a minute old.  After two or three more minutes, they will not be visible within the cloud, though ice is forming, decimating the droplets around the intense streamers of ice in the contrail.
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7:28 AM. The small ice canal (the ice is hanging just below the Altocumulus clouds–kind of hard to make out, but its there.
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7:42 AM. Those little clear streaks are hardly noticeable now, partly because they were quite narrow, and because of perspective and things bunching up in the distance.

 

From the Cowboys in Laramie, Wyoming, this TUS sounding for yesterday morning in the pre-dawn hours:

Suggested locations of cloud layers. The Altocumulus layer in which the contrails were embedded seems to be at -25°C, a "normal" temperature for this kind of "high temperature contrail". In general contrails are not supposed to occur until the temperature is below about -35° C and the air is moist, thus they are usually seen amid or near Cirrus clouds. not down in Altocumulus.
Suggested locations of cloud layers. The Altocumulus layer in which the contrails were embedded seems to be at -25°C, a “normal” temperature for this kind of “high temperature contrail”. In general contrails are not supposed to occur until the temperature is below about -35° C and the air is moist, thus they are usually seen amid or near Cirrus clouds. not down in Altocumulus.   See usual contrail height at Cirrus levels  in moon photo.

As the morning wore on, the Altocumulus deck faded away, moving east, and we were left with some Cirrus clouds, but what kind?

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10:58 AM. Cirrus of some type, but notice there is absolutely no fibrous details (strands and such) as we normally see in Cirrus.  Could be transverse waves in a Cirrostratus deck since Cirrostratus can be fog like, have no detail, in a version we call, Cirrostratus nebulosus.  The up and down motions would cause clearings perpendicular to the wind up there.  The lack of strands and uniformity in these bands suggests very tiny ice crystals, ones having very little fallspeeds.
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2:34 PM. Some nice “hovercraft” clouds, Altocumulus lenticularis off in the distance SSW. Hung around out there for a couple of hours.
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3:17 PM. This one appeared to be concave upward, which was a little odd. Zoomed view next.
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3:17 PM. Looks like the inside is higher than the outside. Huh.

Well, that was  it for photography yesterday.

Doesn’t seem to be any reliable indication of rain in sight.   Oh, sure, rain here pops up in the models almost every day, but its about 12-15 days out.  As the model gets closer to the day it predicted rain, it seems to go away like the “water mirage” on a hot paved road; always ahead of you, but you never get to it.  We’ve had some major rains indicated in the models as of a few days ago, but spaghetti was never very high on those events (clustering those crazy lines in a trough over us), so it wasn’t even worth mentioning.

And, even that rain is a gonner in the model runs from last night!

The End

Heavenly model

From our friends in Canada, this fabulous sequence for AZ.  An example:

Valid for Friday afternoon, 5 PM,m November 22nd.  Arrow points to beau coup eastern AZ precip amounts
Valid for Friday afternoon, 5 PM AST,  November 22nd. Arrow points to beau coup eastern AZ precip amounts.

The loop above, generated by last evening’s global obs by the Enviro Can “GEM” model might be the best a numerical model can put out for Arizona.  It might even be the best model day of my life ever here (which hasn’t been that long, but still…).

Why?

1.  Trough races into the precip “Red Zone”, located immediately SW of AZ.  Rain moves in on Friday into Catalina and environs.

2.  Trough forms circular, spinning low aloft there, that wanders slightly in place. Cloud and precip rush into Arizona, and it just doesn’t quit as wave after wave of clouds and rain move up from Mexico, the Gulf of Cal-Sea of Cortez, and the Pacific off Baja while the low center dawdles.

3. Low crosses into AZ and departs AZ late Sunday after showery day.

In sum, showery rainy conditions beginning on Friday, continuing into Sunday.

Amounts should be several inches in the mountains of AZ.  Here, sans the great U of AZ calcs for the whole storm period, will go with the same “seat-of-pants” estimates of the botttom and top amounts made a couple of days ago:  at least 0.4 inches (even if things don’t work out so great; low doesn’t dawdle so long).   But as much as 1.50 inches on the high end here in Catalina if it DOES dawdle as this model run from last night shows and we get nailed by recurring rain bands.  Best estimate, “therefore” he sez, is the average of the two, or about an inch.

It would seem some thunder now and then would also be in the mix, and BTW, we remind our reader that snow and rain mixed together is NOT SLEET, dammitall!  SLEET is frozen raindrops, ones that have frozen on the way down and usually requires two to three thousand feet of below-freezing air temperatures before that happens.  Also, they BOUNCE when they hit, are usually clear, and often have spikes where the water was trying to get out since they mostly freeze from the outside inward, and because water expands when it freezes, a spike or ejection of ice splinters results as freezing takes place.  Kind of neat really.    But its NOT rain and snow mixed together!  Sorry, getting into some “sleet rage” here; need to work on it; get it under control.  I just don’t want my reader to sound ignorant when rain and snow are mixed together, but rather, “precipitationally erudite.”

Yesterday’s clouds5:20 PM. Jet’s ‘n’ Cirrus. The very short contrails, formed by moisture and carbonaceous crap, oops, black stuff, in the exhaust, are short here because the jets are flying ABOVE the Cirrus.


5:42 PM. OK sunset.

 

The moon's been HUGE lately, enough where you can see quite a bit of detail.
The moon’s been HUGE lately, enough where you can see quite a bit of detail.

More rain ahead as month closes!

The End

Seeing cloud tops over Prescott from Catalina; Douglas tops 16 inches in summer rain

Here they are:

2:53 PM. Cumulonimbus tops with their anvils line horizon northwest to north. The ones that begin this series on the left are in the Prescott area. See radar chart below.
2:53 PM. Cumulonimbus tops with their anvils line horizon northwest to north. The ones that begin this series on the left are in the Prescott area. See radar chart below.  Cumulus fractus clouds are in the foreground.
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2:45 PM AST. Arizona radar echoes yesterday at the time of the photo. Note little green patch SW of Prescott, maybe Peoples Valley area. Radar courtesy of WSI Intellicast. That would be the leftmost tops.
6:41 PM.  Nice sunset with "surprise" Cumulonimbus located NW of Sells.  Nice little virga patch hanging down from some Altocumulus next to it.

6:41 PM. Nice sunset with “surprise” rogue Cumulonimbus located NW of Sells. Nice little virga patch hanging down from some Altocumulus next to it.  Did not expect a Cb in that direction at the end of the day.  Bodes well for today; having Cbs that are a little closer to us.
6:46 PM.  Totally clear skies, moon intact, S-SW, though. Stratified smog layer is at bottom.  Smog was much less yesterday than feared it would be after the afternoon invasion of the day before.
6:46 PM. The sky was completely clear, however, moon intact,  S-SW.  Note stratified smog layer at the bottom.

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Our desert greening seems to be reaching its peak now, and so it would be nice for you to get out and see it before football day on Saturday and it could start to wilt that bit under our drier conditions.  Just after sunrise, and just before sunset, there is some great lighting on our weedy summer desert vegetation.SONY DSC

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The weather ahead….

Canadians1 think the tropical air will hang around SE Arizona for a few more days, with the chances of rain actually increasing that bit on Saturday.  The US WRF-GFS model is not quite so generous with precip here, so we will ignore that one.  But, in any event, we should have pretty Cumulus, and distant Cumulonimbus clouds for a few more days before The End,  after which we have to wait for a hurricane/tropical storm to roar up the coast of Baja and across Yuma to get any real rain.

In the meantime, I am wondering whether you have taken that trip I suggested to SE Arizona to see the  vegetation explosion resulting from this summer’s extraordinary rains they’ve gotten down there? Douglas, for example, has just crossed over the 16 inches mark for this summer a couple of days ago, the wettest summer of the past 100 years down that way.  The summer desert vegetation down there must be extraordinary, too, and it would really be worth seeing.  I will get down there for sure!

It has continued to rain extraordinary amounts of rain in western Arizona.  Here is a depiction of just the past seven days ending yesterday morning (today’s image is not out yet).  Its a great sight, considering our “extreme” and “exceptional” drought designations over that way.

Seven day radar-derived precipitation totals for the US ending yesterday at 5 AM AST.  Just look at how Arizona overall has fared during this period.  Amazing.  Should make a good dent in our drought conditions.
Seven day radar-derived precipitation totals for the US ending yesterday at 5 AM AST. Just look at how Arizona overall has fared during this period. Amazing. Should make a good dent in our drought conditions. And the generous rains in droughty NM are foretold to continue, good news indeed.  (BTW, the excessive precip around Salt Lake City is bogus, due to an error.)  There are holes in mountainous areas due to blocked radar beams, so this map under represents the rain that actually occurred.  Need more radars!

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1The writer exhibits bias here due to his precipophilic personality combined with having most of his relatives living in Canada.  Also, the cruder Canadian model with its larger grid sizes tends to smooth out precip over larger areas than the US WRF-GFS model shown here.

The moon is us

Since we don’t have any clouds and storms to think about, I thought I would think about the moon for you.  Here is a fragmentary view from yesterday morning through some Cirrus:

Have any thoughts yet?

Well, here is a surprise that’s been around for a few years but I just found out about it:

The moon is a piece of the earth!

Yep, “Theia”, another planet whose exact size is unknown, COLLIDED with the earth about 3.5 billion years ago! That, my fiend, is the leading theory for the moon’s origin; this from the November 23rd issue of Science:  Science-2012–1006-1

I can’t post more beyond these newsy pages from Science because Science is not yet apart of the Open Access Movement where you can learn things from journal content for free!  Imagine!  Besides, on the second page there is an advertisement for a vacation in June in Iceland, in case you get too hot here.

But, after that diversion, and thinking of Theia (nice name for a girl, BTW), think of the damage!  The shaking!

How are we still in orbit? Where’s the crater? (Must be pretty damn big!)

Why would you think such a crazy thing in the first place? After all, as advised in this Disney-produced proper musical ambience and skit (Extraordinary Claims);  EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS require EXTRAORDINARY PROOF!

Amen.

So where’s the proof?

Its in the isotopes.  Amazingly, beyond even Ripley’s Strangely Believe It, much of the isotope composition of the moon is identical with the earth, not like those from meteorites and stuff like that.  So, there you have it, though there are some unanswered questions yet.  Apparently, it got so hot at the collision interface that everything melted back together, no crater

If it was to happen again, I hope it doesn’t happen during a bowl game (teevee viewing guidance here), since I wouldn’t want to miss the story in case it was played down due to an important upset, as here from an old Seattle Times mention of an asteroid that looked like it might collide with earth.   At least this news was on the front page.  Gee, if it had happened, maybe we’da got us a new moon to look at!