Sunset color today?

First, yesterday’s interesting clouds:

1:33 PM.
1:33 PM.

Earlier Today

You will soon notice a nice sunrise with a sky full of  clouds, Cirrus-ee ones, Altostratus, some Altocumulus tending toward lenticulars (red denotes cloud forms added after the sun came up and I saw them.)

I am late today, not because I overslept some, but also because I wanted to post a great sunrise photo for you.

You know, its all about YOU again, isn’t it?  Maybe you should step back and think about that for a second…ask yourself just where your life is going?  Thanks in advance for doing that!

Here is this morning’s nice sunrise, Altostratus clouds with virga:

7:07 AM today.
7:07 AM today.


When you see this morning’s  clouds, and the great sunrise, no doubt you will be thinking along the lines of a great sunset  today as well.

But you’d be so WRONG!

Using a technique developed here, you can foretell where the back side of today’s band of high and, later, middle clouds will be quite accurately.  You won’t need  the Titan supercomputer to do it, though it would be nice if you had one.  Will reprise that methodology for you:

1.  First go to, say, a web site having infrared image loops, such as here in purple and gold Huskyland up there in the wet Pac NW

2.  Select a loop that you like that shows the clouds to the west of us, such as the one I have selected for you.

3.  Stop the loop at a time period not less than 4 h from the current time (probably best not to exceed 12 h).

4.  Get out a Hollerith card (computer punch card), and carefully mark the position of the backside of the cloud band of interest that is upwind of your location, pressing the card hard against your computer montior.

5.  Proceed in stepwise fashion to the current time in that satellite loop and mark on the same punch card, the location of the backside of the cloud band.  You will now have two “tick” marks denoting the movement of the backside of the clouds over the time period you chose.

6.  Now, move the first “tick” mark to the current backside, carefully moving the card along the direction of movement of the band, and pressing it against the computer monitor.

7.  The second tick mark you made will now be ahead of the band at a future position and time, based on the time increment you have used.

8.  Determine from that future position whether local sunset will occur to the west of the backside while it is still OVERHEAD.  If the answer is “yes”, then a tremendous, memorable sunset is likely.

Illustrative example, using an 11 h time increment to enhance difficulty:

Satellite image 1

6 PM yesterday.  Cloud band backside is over  central California.
6 PM yesterday. Cloud band backside is over central California.

Satellite image 2

6 AM this morning.  Backside approaching Colo River Valley.  But is it moving slow enough to be overhead at 5-6 PM?
6 AM this morning. Backside approaching Colo River Valley. But is it moving slow enough to be overhead at 5-6 PM with the big clearing to the west?


Preparation of the Hollerith card; no  “hanging chads” here–some people disperse incense now:


The back edge of our cloud band is too far east for a good sunset tonight.   New clouds would have to form on the backside for a good sunset. Yes, that COULD happen, and it sometimes does in certain situations, but it probably won’t today.  Be thankful for a nice sunrise.

The weather ahead?   The cold slam?

Well, every weather presenter is on top of that big time, and so why blather about it here?  Of course, tomorrow….”tomorrow is another day” to quote a quote.  And after I see how this mostly clear sky sunset prediction turns out.

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.