Category Archives: Smoke

“Los Angeles” Catalina

Got a little homesick yesterday looking at the white sky, the barely visible mountains in the distance, like Twin Peaks, eyes a little teary, not from sadness so much, but from smog and smoke.  Grew up in the San Fernando Valley you know, Reseda.  Lots of smog there at times, though not as much as in Burbank, thank heavens, where it banked up against the San Gabriel Mountains.

Reseda, as you know is quite famous from the Karate Kid movie and was even mentioned by Frank Zappa in his Tinsel Town Rebellion album so I like to tell people that I grew up there, went to Reseda High School, played some sports. Maybe I should add a sports highlight to convince you that I went to such a famous high school, and maybe, too, mention that overpowering, incapacitating crush I had on Rozzi R. when I was 15 years old, since a story like that would titillate your interests more than a sports story, or maybe even stuff about weather.  I think I know the people who read this blog pretty darn well.

Below is that “nostalgic” LA sky we had yesterday, thanks to fires in New Mexico, the second one of the yellowish-orange sun typically associated with smoke particles.  Of course, the “white sky” is common on humid days back East, and in the global warming domain, is our friend.

Yes, that’s right, smog is our “friend”, because, as was likely yesterday, in spite of record heat, the temperature would have even been a tad HIGHER without that smoke layer!

In fact, one of the conundrums in foretelling climate in the coming decades, is how much smoke, our “friend”, will offset the warming due to trace gases like CO2.  Imagine, a world of never-blue-but-always-white skies and no more worries about global warming!

As the cliché goes, “Beam me up, Scotty” if such a world came to pass!  So, lets knock off the fires, all smog, in fact, and untoward gases!

  More clouds, less smog today 

In case you missed it, some sunrise Cirrus today!  Finally a cloud.  Who cares if its at 45,000 feet above the ground!  It shows there can still be humidity in the air.

Probably had some….OK, your guess… on the ice crystal type up there in those Cirrus clouds.

Yes, that’s right, bullet rosettes, would be an excellent guess, crystals with a solid “germ” center from which columns radiate outward like these ones below captured in Cirrus clouds over Barrow, AK, some years ago.


 Update on “dusty coolsnap”, foretold many days ago for around June 5th.

 Here, from the NWS Tucson, you will see that “dusty coolsnap”,  foretold by the models many days ago, has been evolving into “breezynotashotsnap”, if you can call that a “snap”, a word that implies more suddeness that what will likely happen.  Still, a trough brushes by to the north, just doesn’t have the amplitude it once did in the models; we’ll see only some moderation in temps.  How can they not “moderate” after record highs, so that was an easy thing for me to say.

Still no rain in mods for hereabouts, but some close calls from afternoon thunderstorms in New Mexico every now and then.

The awful indications is, just beyond a week from now, more record HIGH temperatures lasting for a few days!  Yikes.

The End


Layered smoke, not clouds yesterday

From dawn til dusk, Catalina was plagued by a smoke layer from the fires in western New Mexico, ones you wouldn’t ordinarily think that smoke would get here from.

An example of the mid-day smoke that looked so much like a cirrostratus layer.
Ditto here.

Here is a loop of the water vapor imagery that will show you the air movement from where those fires are to us in Catalina.  Also, even more dramatic, showing this is the visible satellite image from the Atmos. Sci. Dept at the U of WA, whose sports teams are not involved in NCAA baseball or softball playoffs, BTW.  The arrow points to Catalina, and you can see that by the time of this image, 5 PM AST, we were not in the thickest part.

Now, as many of you know, air flowing down from the northeast is often a VERY good thing for rain here in mid-July since the afternoon thunderstorms over the White Mountains coming bopping on down in the evenings from that direction, driven by driving outflow winds from the northeast, pushing over and around Charoleau Gap.  Can’t you just see the blackening July sky, the cloud-to-ground strokes to the northeast, then as close as they are to us, parts of the Catalina Mountains beginning to disappear, no longer visible through the dense rainshafts!  Ah, yes, our great July weather…

In the sat image, you can also see that thunderstorms, best represented by the whitest dots in this image next to duller, smooth regions, are not so far away from us.   Those whitest parts likely represent the regions of the storms where there are liquid cloud drops and updrafts, the cumuliform part. Those less white zones that appear so smooth, the “stratiform” or anvil portions composed solely of ice.

Rain is usually not occurring at the ground in most of the anvil regions; its just icy fluff, ejecta, and in many cases, counterproductive you might say.  That’s because anvils can shade a huge area and kill of the Cumulus that might otherwise grow into storms.

Any rain indicated in the models for Catalina in the next 15 days?



The End.