Monday, 9 November 2015

Sunrise, sunsets, clouds, rainbows and light in the Lake District

Golden sunsets
Well the Autumn storms are finally here and the high pressure has been replaced by low. The wind is howling and the autumn leaves are falling from the trees and swirling around all over the roads. Before the storm arrived when the weather was stable and dominated by high pressure, I managed to enjoy some stunning sunrises and sunsets.

Still mornings
Blue skies
The weather became more unsettled as the week went on, however my friend Clare and I studied the weather forecast and saw that there may be a slight weather window around 10am. It was a plod up Steel Fell in the rain but the autumn colours were still bright enough to see through the rain.As the rain cleared we were treated to an amazing cloud show, looking back down Thirlmere. There was also a faint rainbow and set against the backdrop of the brown and purple bracken it was pretty stunning. I didn't take my decent camera as having lived in the Lakes since I was born...I didn't believe the forecast!
Rolling clouds

Atmospheric clouds
Pretty rainbows
And as we round turned to look towards Helm Crag and beyond the light was also pretty stunning as the sun tried to break through the cloud.

 We wandered down the Wythburn valley and got a total soaking in the pouring rain but it didn't matter - we had seen some amazing light and the water levels were high making the rivers and beck a stunning sight as the water cascaded down the mountain sides.

Autumn colours
When I arrived home that evening I was just sitting down to have a look at my photos and glanced outside and there was just the most amazing golden I abandoned my cup of tea and I was off outside again with my camera to enjoy the wonders of the last moments of sunlight.

Stunning sunset

Golden skies looking towards the Solway
And then if you turned slightly away from the west the sky had a more pink tinge to it

Pink sunset
What a truly amazing planet we live on and it doesn't have to be sunny to enjoy it. If we didn't have the differences in air pressures that produces our weather systems it probably wouldn't be quite as beautiful! And it just goes to show it can be worth it sometimes (not always!) to just get out there are see what the weather treats you too!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Autumn Colours and atmospheric mist in the Lake District

The autumn colours just keep getting better and better in the Lake District. The weather has been pretty warm and humid, with a mixture of sunshine and showers. This has resulted in us being treated to some pretty stunning days. I haven't managed to get as many photos as I wanted but I've managed to sneak out at lunchtime and stopped the odd time whilst driving too and from various places!

Derwentwater in Autumn

Derwentwater in Autumn

In my previous blog I wrote about autumn colours, senesence and why leaves change colour so I thought in this blog I would write a little bit about mist and fog and temperature inversions. We have had some stunning sunsets and moon rises coupled with some mist and fog resulting in some beautiful scenes. I haven't managed to capture all of the scenes - but I have seen a bit of it from the office window!

Keswick - autumn colour
So what is happening when the mist is rolling through the valleys to result in these beautiful formations? 

Mist is basically water vapour. Tiny little water droplets form due to differences in temperature between the cold air and the warm land or water body. As the air gets cooled it causes condensation. The mist and fog that we see in the valleys is basically a pocket of cold dense air that has 'fallen' there and the warmer air is passing over it.

Mist rolling through the valleys
At this time of year we also wake up too misty mornings which often does get 'burnt off' by the sun. 

At night the land and water bodies lose the warmth they have gained fromt he sun during the day and cool down. As the air comes into contact with the cold land, it also gets cold. Cold air cannot hold as much moisture as warm air and so condensation and fog forms. As the day warms up so does the mist and fog causing the water droplets to turn back into water vapour.
Mist and autumn colour
Eerie looking trees in the mist

All of these weather concepts result in some beautiful landscapes for us. As the year goes on we start to get some more interesting weather phenomena such as frosts, snow and ice not to mention wild rain and wind! I will be blogging some more about all of this as the season pass...
There is more detail about fog on the Met Office learning page - full of info for natural world nerds like me!