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.



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.