Yesterday was Earth Day.
I have looked at many pictures posted by media to mark Earth Day. Curiously, many of them show crowds of humans — and so features the celebrants rather than the thing being celebrated. Other stories treated animals and ecosystems brought back from near extinction. Another showed satellite scenes of the earth’s surface, entirely devoid of clouds, as if this maybe presented the world in its pristine state. (Spoiler alert: the earth does have clouds and they are central to the earth’s climate.)
Of course, Earth is an exceeding complex system of interacting components. No single feature captures the whole — each scene presents but a glance.
Yet, this year’s emphasis on climate suggested celebrating local weather. Of course, climate and weather are not the same thing, but just as life is comprised of momentary instances, so too is climate the sum of momentary weather events.
So, here are some tiny weather events that capture moments in the local climate.
Looking north, one sees Lake, mountains, snow, glaciers, forests, and beaches.
With a deafening din, a hailstorm pummels the Lake.
Cumulonimbus mammatus hangs over the Lake during a summer thunderstorm.
Frost flowers grow on the beach in the late winter.
A steam devil travels across the Lake midwinter.
A semi-circular rainbow is completed by reflections in the calm waters of the Lake.
A snowflake’s view of where it will come to rest.
An iridescent wave cloud hangs over the Lake in the summer.
The local weather contains many components, one of which is wildfires.
There are undulations in the atmosphere instigated by flow over mountains. While these waves are often inconspicuous, smoke from a distant wildfire reveals them.
This phenomenon carries the deceptive name of a smoking mountain. It is actually cloud formed downwind of the mountain by air being drawn up the lee slope.
Cumulus clouds transport significant energy from the surface to the atmosphere.
Just earth, air and water.