Wednesday, November 28, 2012

HIgh pressure keeping blue skies in sight

The massive high pressure system of Alaska has brought us day 10 of frost and clear skies. Be mindful I said clear skies–meaning high altitude–because we now apparently are under an inversion. The weather cams from the CNFAIC website links are showing dazzling images from the mountain tops in the Chugach. However, in spots down low, we are under a layer of fog. The temperatures are up to 30° warmer on the mountain tops than at sea level. The image above is looking toward Penguin Ridge, you can see how the mountain weather cams could be spectacular.

This fog has made for some interesting images and weird environmental sensations in Girdwood and along the Turnagain Arm. Though the top photo gives no indication of fog, the one just above is a view down Alyeska Highway toward the Seward Highway. Without fog, the normal view would be the water and a waterfall or snow slide on the opposite side of the Arm down Mount Alpenglow. As is seen here today, that is not the case. 

After turning onto the Seward Highway, by Toadstool Lane (the turn off for the rail road), the fog was so thick there was no visibility. Usually the fog is a bit higher and we are able to see the ground, today the fog was heavy in spots sitting on the ground. The photo above demonstrates it was so thick, the camera could hardly focus on the marsh plants covered in frost. Spooky! 

Although the fog was so thick you could not see 10 yards ahead, it was thin in altitude. In this photo, look at the upper right and the mountain top is visible obviously receiving sunlight. Interesting. The trees are coated with frost and in the fog they have a grey cast to them, not bright white so I know it is not snow. 

Further along, near Bird, the fog layers split apart and moved around presenting a dreamy image of the Seward Highway. And again, notice the fog is not deep vertically. Here is a link to a NOAA page that defines different types of fog. there are some great photos too (the top of the page reads Jackson, KS but the fog descriptions are general).

No snow in the forecast through this Sunday....I don’t see how any insects could winter over this year with such a thin layer of snow, the ground cannot be that warm for them to hide in leaf litter?

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