Icy clouds blot afternoon sun in Catalina for seventh day in a row! How weird is that?

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…

3:36 PM yesterday.  Once again, Altostratus translucidus (too gray to be Cirrus) has blotted the sun.   The bottom of this layer was about 20,000 feet above Catalina, according to the balloon sounding yesterday afternoon.
5:36 PM. Sunset was painterly, not bad.

The End,  for now.  Have some other chores to plug away on.


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.


  1. Strange indeed, Art. I thought by now you’d be getting the rain we no longer have. Here it’s mainly clear today.

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