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

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!
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.
4:56 PM, September 11. The remaining smoke is still enough to produce crepuscular rays below Stratocumulus and Cumulus (blob on the right).
6:30 PM. Orangey sunset speaks to remaining smoke. The clouds are a Stratocumulus with Cu underneath on the right.
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.
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!
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.
4:58 PM yesterday. More shadow drama.  Expect more of this later today.


The End


By Art Rangno

Retiree from a group specializing in airborne measurements of clouds and aerosols at the University of Washington (Cloud and Aerosol Research Group). The projects in which I participated were in many countries; from the Arctic to Brazil, from the Marshall Islands to South Africa.