March 09, 2020

The Beauty and Subtleties of Today's Weather

There is so much negative energy going around these days about the coronavirus and national politics, that is good to stand back and acknowledge the great beauty of our natural environment .

Before sunrise, the Crystal Mountain cam showed Mt. Rainier, partially illuminated by a setting moon.  If you look careful, a cap cloud/lenticular is seen over the mountain's crest.

The sunrise view from the Seattle Space Needle Panocam was gorgeous, with Mt. Rainier in the background.  To the east, there was some low-level clouds and fog.    With clear skies and very cold temperatures (many areas were below freezing), a good frosting was apparent in many locations.

As the sun rose about the horizon, the low clouds starting streaming over the city--just stunning.

But there was more.... a lot more to appreciate.   The Seattle Panocam image facing towards the Olympics around 8 AM showed a ring of light--a glory-- surrounding the upper shadow of the Space Needle on the low clouds that had moved in during the last hour.  Glories are associated with atmospheric diffraction, the pending of light by objects and the essential wave-like nature of light.

But look you see the line of low clouds extending down the Sound? Something interesting was going on.

Here is another picturetaken  a bit earlier that shows the line clearly.  The moon is right about the clouds (left side) and a ferry is sailing underneath.

The line was even apparent on high resolution weather satellite imagery, and you can see fog/low clouds over Seattle and Snoqualmie Valley as well.  There is another set of cloud lines over the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca.

 What are these lines?   They are the result of converging land breezes, as cold air pushed from both shores and collided over the central Sound and Strait.  One of my earlier blogs described this phenomenon.   Colliding land breezes produces upward motion, which in turn forms clouds.

Anyway, enjoying the great natural beauty around us and understanding our physical environment is a great solace in these trying times.


  1. "There is so much negative energy going around these days"

    Cliff this is so true, and it can make us old guys who lived through much better times years ago very sad. So thank you for posting these wonderful pictures and reminding us of what's truly important - our relationship with and appreciation of our beautiful Mother Earth, and the brief opportunity we each have to take it in.

  2. So beautiful - thank you Cliff.

  3. Ahhhh--a reminder the sky isn't falling. No pun intended. We do live in a beautiful place.

  4. If a rock on a string could smile it would be! A timely reminder!

  5. Entries like this are why I consider yours an award-winning blog.

  6. Thanks for the break Cliff. Amen. The media hype machine is in full overdrive. The real epidemic is that the talking heads are falling over themselves to give you the virus of fear, uncertainty and doubt.

  7. "Like" too! This is one amazing world.

  8. I so appreciate this shot of positivity, Cliff. Thank you.

  9. Thank you for the gorgeous photos. What a marvelous way to start my day!

  10. Who took these amazing photographs? Indeed, it is inspiring to see these, but we also need to not be distracted (for too long) from COVID19 and the steps we all need to take to protect ourselves and our communities.

  11. Who took the photographs? Are these available online, free of charge?


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