In a beautiful time-lapse video recently released by the two photographers behind Skyglow project, a book and video series exploring the effects of light pollution, we see a fog roll into the Grand Canyon like an ocean wave and the Colorado River disappear.
It’s called a full cloud inversion and is caused by cold air trapped inside the canyon being covered by a layer of warm air. The weather phenomenon is so rare that it took years to capture the footage.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Harun Mehmedinovic explained how the project came together and the explosive final frame of the video.
Of all the sights you might encounter on the hills, the fabled cloud inversion is perhaps the most sought after of all. That moment you break through from a cold, murky world below into an impossibly bright and often hot world above, puts you on a high that lasts for weeks. It doesn’t always work out of course, because usually the hill you’re climbing isn’t quite high enough to break through, but the ‘will it won’t it’ keeps you guessing all the way up.
Here’s a taste of what it’s like, and how it’s difficult not to get overly excited when you think you might get one.
This mesmerizing gif shows a waterfall of mist gently spilling over the sun-illuminated cliffs of West Bay in Dorset, England.
The footage, captured by a drone, shows the effects of a temperature inversion.
A temperature inversion happens when a thin layer of the atmosphere experiences a temperature increase as height increases. Under ‘normal’ circumstances, atmospheric temperature tends to decrease as height increases.
This warm atmospheric layer acts as a lid; keeping normal convective overturning of the atmosphere from penetrating through the inversion.
As a result of the temperature inversion, clouds below this atmospheric layer are forced to spread out and take on a flattened experience; as we can clearly see in this footage.