Archive for the ‘Cloud photographs’ Category
I am pleased to announce that the Senior Learning Institute (SLI) of the College of Central Florida in Ocala is providing me another opportunity to present a geosciences topic that is near and dear to me.
IMPORTANT SPECIAL UPDATE (5-10-2015): The Senior Learning Institute no longer exists. It has become the non-profit Senior Learners, Inc. and classes are still taught at the College of Central Florida in Ocala. Here is a link:
IDENTIFYING AND UNDERSTANDING CLOUDS will be presented on Feb. 5, 7, 12, 14 (2013) – from 10 until noon (for a total of 8 hours). Click on the following link for my outline which will be distributed at the beginning of the first class meeting.
I have presented a dozen seminars at the SLI since 2006 and thoroughly enjoyed them. Since I taught a 12 hour course on clouds in April, 2007 I have received requests from a number of people who missed it and also from others who wished to do it again as a refresher.
SLI is a membership group composed of some terrific people who seem to consider “learning” to be an integral aspect of their life styles. When I am with them, though my official roll is that of a presenter, I learn so very much. I learn from them and I learn in the processes of preparing and presenting. There are some significant differences between these courses and the courses I taught for 41 years at colleges and universities: 1) the SLI seminars are non-credit courses, 2) they are short in duration compared to most college courses, 3) there are no academic prerequisites to the courses, 4) there are no exams to fret over, 5) there are no grades, 6) all who enroll are there voluntarily and, from what I can tell, gladly and 7) many have a great deal of experience acquired through time and by their sharing are able to enhance the quality of the course.
Several years ago this bag of corn chips was purchased somewhere in Southern California. Shortly afterwards one of my two former students hiking the Mt. Whitney trail with me pulled it out of his backpack when we were taking a break at the 11,395′ benchmark near Consultation Lake. Adam and Carl were game hikers and a joy to be with. I’ve lost track of Adam but Carl (Opper) is an earth science professor at St. Petersburg College. He makes me proud.
I must admit that right now I have a problem with this image:
IT ACCURATELY DEPICTS
HOW MY ABDOMEN FEELS THIS EVENING!
That strange statement will be explained in a moment.
Of course the reason why the bag is near bursting is because the atmospheric pressure upon it is so much less than it was where it was packaged and sealed. The image also illustrates that when air rises, it expands. Interestingly, the “heat” within the air inside the bag is spread out over a greater volume due to the expansion. Therefore, were it measured, one would find the temperature of the air at any point inside the bag to be colder than it was at the beginning of the hike. But, the amount of heat inside the bag would be essentially the same as at the beginning of the hike, except for the small amount lost due to radiation cooling of the bag’s surface.
Did you catch that? When air rises and expands the temperature changes but the amount of heat remains essentially the same. I was reminded many times during my years of teaching that many people do not discriminate between the word, heat and the word, temperature. The fact is, they do not mean the same thing. For example, it takes a lot more heat to increase a gallon of room temperature water up to boiling than to increase a quart of room temperature water up to boiling – though the temperatures of each once the heating was accomplished would be the same at boiling.
When unsaturated air rises, its temperature drops at a rate of about 1degree C. per 100 meters of ascent! When saturated air rises its temperature drops at a rate of about 0.6 degrees C. per 100 meters. The reduction (retardation) is due to the fact that when saturated air is rising and being further cooled by expansion – condensation occurs which releases heat; the heat released slows down the rate of expansion cooling.
This is the crux of adiabatic cooling, a subject which will come up sooner or later at this site (as well as adiabatic heating). NOW: Back to the strange comment about my abdomen.
Even before we returned to our Florida home from our month-long stay at our mountain cabin I knew that something inside my lower abdomen was not quite right. After getting back to Florida I investigated on-line and correctly reached the conclusion that I had a hernia. The surgeon found a second one when he examined me. I had surgery that took a little over two hours early in the afternoon on Monday. The surgeon found a third hernia while he was in there looking around with his magic wand, the laparoscope.
All went well. The surgery was done on an out-patient basis. That’s not a complaint. Once my head hit the pillow at home I felt very tired but I was not sleepy! I was so relieved that I jabbered off and on all night long. My poor wife! Perhaps the medication played a role in that.
The surgery is the main reason for my inactivity on line – that plus the fact that there is no tropical weather going on right now, being near the end of the official season. I’ve read that it’s over but my feeling always at this time of year is, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over!” spoken first (I think) by the great living sage, Yogi Berra. Out-of- season storms have occurred though such events are relatively rare. Here are two examples:
1) Hurricane Alice formed at 1 A.M. EST December 30, 1954 and continued as a hurricane into January 6, 1955. Here’s a plot.
2) A hurricane formed on March 6, 1908. It is called both “The March, 1908 Hurricane” and “1908 Hurricane #1.” Here’s a plot.
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Never in my wildest dreams during my 41 years of teaching college/university meteorology did I ever think that I would be able to sit in my recliner at home (or anywhere else for that matter) with a personal computer on my lap allowing me to gaze at color images of our beautiful earth from near space in nearly real time! Nor did I ever imagine being able to electronically transfer that image to a web-log for hundreds of interested (and interesting) people who visit the site.
The only thing about all of this that disappoints me is my not having been able to do similar things in the classroom for the nearly 25,000 students who took my courses. I feel very fortunate, however, to have a wonderful following of Senior Institute participants at Central Florida Community College in Ocala. In the classroom where I meet with them I am able to project on-line images on a large screen. That they seem to enjoy my use of the technology in the classroom is icing on the cake. I know how lucky I am to be able to continue after retirement, teaching and learning more and more about subjects I love.
Please take a look at this beautiful image. Enlarge it as much as you are able. I suggest right-clicking on the image and saving it so that you can study it using an image viewer of your choice; do that, ONLY after getting the image as large as you are able following the instructions immediately below.
TWO INDEPENDENT LEFT CLICKS SHOULD GIVE YOU
A VERY LARGE IMAGE WHICH WILL ALLOW YOU TO SEE
DETAIL MUCH BETTER SO LONG AS YOU SCROLL
UP AND DOWN, RIGHT AND LEFT.
PLEASE BE PATIENT.
DEPENDING UPON YOUR CONNECTION SPEED,
LOADING MAY TAKE A WHILE.
This image was completed at 3:45 PM EST, November 10, 2008; the time stamp is at the upper left corner but is easy to read only when you enlarge. The satellite that did this, GOES 12, is in geosynchronous orbit. This simply means that it completes one orbit (revolution) in the same period of time the earth makes one rotation; that period of time is one day. Also, it orbits within the equatorial plane. Therefore, as the satellite travels rapidly though space it stays over the same point above earth (about 22,300 miles from the earth’s surface). The distance between the satellite and earth’s surface is almost three earth diameters – so “high” that full disk images of earth can be captured.
With adequate enlargement you can see the aqua-blue of the shallow Bahama Platform. You can also see ice and snow in the Southern Andes, Greenland, the Arctic Ocean, and the Antarctic peninsula. You can see the remnant of what was once hurricane Paloma centered slightly north of Cuba. You can see the bright tops of high clouds and the grey tones of the lower clouds. If you know weather circulation patterns as marked by clouds you will see cyclonic circulation in both hemispheres. In the North Pacific there is a very large cyclonic system approaching B.C. Washington, and Oregon. There is a huge front stretching across the South Pacific. The Intertropical Convergence Zone is very well marked by clouds in the Pacific. There is a large extratropical cyclone over the Middle United States. The list goes on and on.
Being able to see all of this, to my mind, is a miracle.
Tonie Ansel Toney
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I have placed a red dot at the approximate center of the remnant low, all that remains of Paloma. Two independent left clicks should give ample enlargement.
Here is the 7 AM EST report
from the National Hurricane Center:
ZCZC MIATWOAT ALL
TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
700 AM EST MON NOV 10 2008
FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC…CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO…
1. A WEAK AREA OF LOW PRESSURE…THE REMNANT OF TROPICAL DEPRESSION PALOMA…IS CENTERED ALONG THE NORTH COAST OF CUBA ABOUT 60 MILES NORTH OF CAMAGUEY. RE-DEVELOPENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS NOT EXPECTED DUE TO STRONG UPPER-LEVEL WINDS.
ELSEWHERE…TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.
The image you see above shows Paloma at 2:15 EST today (Sunday, 11-9-2008). It’s maximum sustained wind velocity was 60 mph at 10 AM but likely to be less now. It may become a remnant low very soon.
FOR A MUCH ENLARGED VIEW, TWO INDEPENDENT LEFT CLICKS SHOULD WORK FOR YOU.
This is a high resolution visible image from the Naval Research Lab. In spite of the fact that this photo was completed early in the afternoon, the low sun angle for this time of year provides a good view of the cumuliform cloud tops over the Bahamas; this is because the shadows the cloud tops cast give us a better view of their respective shapes. Incidentally, the lowest sun angle for any given daylight hour for those of us in the “Lower 49” occurs on the first day of Winter, which is also the day with the shortest length of daylight (Winter Solstice). It is necessary for me to exclude Alaska in that statement because there are parts of that state which, during the Winter, experience days with no daylight.
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A single left click followed by another single left click will enlarge this image significantly.
Altocumulus lenticularis clouds are not rare but, none-the-less, they inspire countless observers and much “camera clicking” occurs when they are present. Forming mostly over mountainous topography, they generally mark the movement of the air at the altitude where they form. Often (as in this case) they form not immediately above the mountain peak (or peaks) themselves but quite some distance higher. In this case it is forming on a “lee wave.” Rising air is what causes most clouds to develop and this is no exception. Envision water flowing quickly in a stream over a boulder that is on the bottom. Not only does the water touching the boulder rise up and over – so does the water above that lowest layer; and if you look closely you might see at least one other standing wave on the downstream side of the boulder. Likewise, a prevailing wind obstructed by a mountain or mountain range is forced to rise up and over and the air above it does the same. If the air aloft contains enough moisture and the lifting cause enough cooling of that air, condensation (and deposition) can occur forming cloud droplets and ice crystals respectively.
I took this photo today (10-29-2008) from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The clouds are forming on the leeward side of the Black Mountain Range, the famous range most notable for the highest peak in the U.S.A. east of the Mississippi, Mt. Mitchell. I was northeast of Mt. Mitchell at the first viewpoint northeast of the intersection of the Parkway with highway 80. The camera faced south-southeast.
The environment was changing quickly while I took several photos. I intend to post more soon in order to demonstrate how quickly the changes were occurring (which was a function of how rapidly the air was moving up there).
In this region the prevailing winds aloft are from west to east (generally speaking) and the Black Mountains trend north-south. The Black Mt. Crest Trail, rated “difficult” runs northward from the top of Mt. Mitchell (which can be reached by roadway) for about 7 miles to Celo Knob. From near the top of Celo Knob the Bowens Creek Trail heads northwestward another 5 miles to the mountain valley below. My youngest daughter hiked the trail with me when she was 11. It was an experience I’ll never forget – nor will she.
DISCLAIMER: Some of the information on this site is published close to “real-time” particularly as it applies to tropical weather; so – check the posting date carefully. It is important to remember that this web-log is not an “official” source of environmental information. Please do not make any decisions based solely on the information found on this site or any other sites that are recommended here – unless they are official. Listen to your local authorities when conditions are life-threatening or there might be loss of (or damage to) property.
Caution – I often leave “dated” posts available because of certain potential tutorial value. I apologize if this causes you any inconvenience. Also, I do not recommend this site for comprehensive coverage of weather. There are times when I do not address significant storms. Above all, do not consider me to be an authority.
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To view an animation of the GFDL model, I recommend going to the following page, http://tc.met.psu.edu/ . This page is provided by the Penn State University Department of Meteorology. Scroll down to the GFDL horizontal column. Notice that there are three menus on that column and a submit button.
1) Select the most recent (highest) of the system you want to observe from the menu on the left.
2) Make sure the field indicates “sea level pressure.”
3) Select “Animation” on the right side menu if it’s not already there.
4) Click the “submit” button.
5) After the graphics come up, click the forward button on the right to watch the GFDL forecast.
It should loop but if it doesn’t click FWD once again.