The above picture is one of the best caught images of a waterspout, a type of tornado that occurs over water. Waterspouts are spinning columns of rising moist air that typically form over warm water. They can be as dangerous as tornadoes, with some featuring wind speeds of over 200 kilometers per hour. Some waterspouts are relatively transparent and only initially visible when an unusual pattern is spotted on the water’s surface.This waterspout was spotted near Tampa Bay, Florida. The area of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida is arguably the most active in the world for the occurrence of waterspouts, with hundreds forming each year. Some people believe large waterspouts are the cause of the unusual disappearances and disasters suffered by planes and ships in the Bermuda Triangle.
On June 14th an incredible ring formed around the sun, something I have only seen during the winter when ice crystals in the air generate this effect. Perhaps it was formed from smoke? Tulit’a, Northwest Territories, Canada.
So in winter (or any time, really) if you look at the sky, chances are you’re gonna see a lot of cool shit that you won’t quite be able to name unless you know what they are before hand. So I’m here to help you out and tell you about some rad things I saw today!
First up: Ice Halos!
Ice Halos are circles around the sun or moon with a 22 degree radius.
22º radius halos are visible all over the world and throughout the year. Look out for them whenever the sky is wisped or hazed with thin cirrus clouds. These clouds are cold and contain ice crystals in even the hottest climates! The halo is large. The halo is always the same diameter regardless of its position in the sky. Sometimes only parts of the complete circle are visible. Much smaller coloured rings around the sun or moon are a corona produced by water droplets rather than ice crystals.
This is a corona:
Moving on to Sun Dogs, also known as Parhelia.
A parhelion or sun dog can be seen at the same time as a 22º halo, and are seen on either side of the sun.
Today I had the super awesome luck of seeing an ice halo and parhelia!
Each ‘dog’ is red coloured towards the sun and sometimes has greens and blues beyond. Sundogs can be blindingly bright, at other times they are a mere coloured smudge on the sky. They are visible all over the world and at any time of year regardless of the ground level temperature. They look like this rad mini rainbow with a bright mini sun in the middle.
There’s lots of things that can occur around the sun, from parhelia to tangent arcs and relatively rare Parry arcs. Here are some cool photos showing off different atmospheric things.
Sun dogs (parhelion) are an atmospheric phenomenon created from the refraction of ice crystals in the air when the sun is low on the horizon. They often appear as bright spots of colored light to the sides of the sun. Mackenzie River near Tulit'a, Northwest Territories, Canada.