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06/27/17 - Hurricane Hill and a Sunbow

Taking a break from Klahane Ridge, we went back to Hurricane Hill. The snow on the trail is almost gone, so it was easy going. We even went down the side spur that leads to the Elwha Ranger Station a bit. We saw a blue grouse and several marmots, but the real treat was a sunbow on our way back to the parking lot.

On our way back, admiring the views of the main mountain chain to the south, we noticed that one of the high cirrus clouds was not quite pure white. It was colored and colored like the rainbow. There was another cirrus cloud not far, and it too was also colored, but more faintly. It took a bit of thinking, but what we were seeing was part of a colored circle, a rainbow around the sun, but only visible where there were ice crystals in the high clouds.

That's called a sunbow. It's not like a rainbow. Rainbows are centered around the anti-solar point, the point farthest away from the sun. A sunbow is centered around the sun. It was a pretty rare sighting. Moonbows, colored rings around the moon are much more common, so we were quite pleased with such a fine view.


A blue grouse

Mountain view

A piece of the sunbow

Another piece, more lightly colored

Together, these were parts of a ring of color around the sun.

Lupines

Lupines and mountain friends

Phlox

Avalanche lilies

More avalanche lilies

One of the many marmots

Keywords: grouse, hurricane hill, atmosphere, science, marmots


11/09/16 - Lake Crescent Rainbow

We saw a rather dramatic rainbow the other day out at Lake Crescent. You can see its reflection on the water.

Signs and portents

Keywords: lake crescent, atmosphere


07/22/16 - Rainbow and Thunderstorm

You can see the two arcs of the rainbow highlighted against the clouds of a thunderstorm approaching Port Angeles.

Amazing light

Keywords: port angeles, atmosphere


05/06/16 - Light Column and Rainbow

One of the nice things about living in the Pacific northwest is that we have lots of rainbows. Now and then we have other atmospheric effects. Recently we had a pretty dramatic rainbow and a light column. The latter is usually the result of ice crystals in the atmosphere at sunset. Those photos were taken looking west at the setting sun. If the sun had been visible from our vantage, we would have seen it at the base of the column.

A dramatic rainbow

The light column is the vertical orange column near the center of the photo.

Another view of the light column

Keywords: atmosphere, science


11/28/15 - Ice Crystals

The weather has been getting colder, but the water in the Strait of San Juan de Fuca is still warm, at least comparatively. Along the coast this means morning fog and condensation on the cold ground, and that means ice crystals. They were lining the dike along the Olympic Discovery Trail about a mile west of Morse Creek. The crystals form on the plants, rocks and pebbles and grow hoary whiskers like something from a moon garden.

The dike, looking west

Ice crystals

Click for a closer view of the ice crystals

Ice whiskers

Ice covered pebbles

More ice crystals

Are you cold yet?

Even more ice crystals

The busy harbor in Port Angeles with two ships and an arctic drilling rig

Keywords: morse creek, weather, atmosphere, science


07/06/15 - The Hazy Sun

When the winds changed, smoke from the forest fires burning on Vancouver Island made it our way. There have been lots of photos, but we figured we add our own, a picture of the sun, dimmed and recolored by the haze.

The hazy sun

Keywords: port angeles, atmosphere


04/05/14 - Walla Walla Skies

We were out in Walla Walla enjoying the skies. There's a lot of sky in Eastern Washington. We had clouds and some rain, but not very far away it was snowing in the Rocky Mountains.

Dramatic sky

More sky

Even more sky, but this time with grapes in the foreground so you can tell it's Walla Walla

Keywords: walla walla, atmosphere


12/15/12 - The Morse Creek Trail - Winter Edition

The Olympic Discovery Trail west of Morse Creek heads through the Four Seasons community down to the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. It's an urban walk, fully paved, and with people's houses nearby, but it changes with the seasons, and the views of the strait are always worth the walking.

One end of the rainbow

The other end of the rainbow

The bicycle people are forever seasonal.

We don't know who the bicycle people are, but we love what they do with their mashed up bicycles.

Another reindeer on board

Keywords: morse creek, atmosphere


12/28/10 - Antisolar Crepuscular Light

One of the things about the Olympic Discovery Trail west of Morse Creek is the amazing view of the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. It is about 30 miles to Vancouver Island and farther to the San Juan Islands. The Cascades and Mount Baker are even farther, so there is a lot of sea and sky visible. Looking north, away from the sun, one often sees patterns in the shadows of clouds falling on other clouds. This is known as crepuscular light, and it can often be subtle, but sometimes the rays of light are impossible to miss. Just in case you are having trouble seeing them in the picture to the right, roll your cursor over it to see a contrast enhanced version.

Keywords: morse creek, atmosphere, science


03/14/10 - Sunrise at Lake Crescent

It was quite a sunrise Saturday morning looking east over Lake Crescent, at least according to these images from the park service webcam. That's the moon rising along with the sun. Obviously, the sun couldn't have been that bright a the time, or the moon wouldn't be visible. It's definitely worth checking in on the various webcams now and then.

The morning gloaming

Sunrise and moonrise

Good morning!

Keywords: lake crescent, atmosphere, science


09/09/08 - Seattle Flight

We often fly into Seattle on the local airline Kenmore Air. They fly little nine seat propeller airplanes from Fairchild Airport (CLM) a bit west of Port Angeles to Boeing Field (BFI) a bit south of Seattle. They are awfully convenient, and we often get spectacular views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. We took these on a later afternoon flight, heading home.





Keywords: seattle, atmosphere, flying, kenmore



Courtesy of the National Atlas

03/18/08 - Precipitation Map

People tend to assume that if you are on the North Olympic Peninsula, then it is raining. This isn't actually true. If you look at the map, you can see the well known Sequim rain shadow, and you can also see that Port Angeles, towards the west is not all that much wetter. In fact, unless you are actually in the mountains, in which case all bets are off, it doesn't really start to rain until you get west of Lake Crescent.

Each color gradation represents a difference of ten inches of rainfall per year, so it can be quite dry around Port Angeles, even when Forks and the West End are getting soaked.

Keywords: science, atmosphere



03/02/08 - Lake Crescent Rainbow

This little rainbow was visible during a rain squall at Lake Crescent. You can really see the bright colors and the relative brightness of the region under the arc.

Keywords: atmosphere, lake crescent


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