Blue Clouds, and Whales

August 24, 2015

Escher's_ReptilesOvercast and way-humid this Monday afternoon on California’s north coast with the fog really, really wet earlier this morning as if there was a drizzle going on — not!
Just way-wet fog, and appears more of the same for the rest of today. maybe some sunshine later on, but it appears doubtful.
Although the NWS calls for ‘Mostly Sunny‘ today, the service does offer a ‘Dealing with Smoke‘ alarm/guidance update with all the forest fires burning all over the place.

Smoke, and ‘electric-blue‘ clouds?

(Illustration: M.C.Escher’s ‘Reptiles‘ found here).

An interesting aspect of our air the last few weeks has been the hefty-influence from all those forest fires on the appearance of our skies, and on several different occasions (when/if the sun shines) I’ve seen some of that ‘electric-blue’ sheen emoting from within the clouds.
Our skies carry a surrealistic, odd sensibility, which now could be a ‘new normal.’
Via USAToday:

Called “noctilucent clouds” or “night-shining clouds,” they were first reported above polar regions in 1885 and have appeared every summer since, noted Space.com last year.
They could be seen in northerly regions like Russia, Scandinavia, and Britain, but have recently appeared as far south as Virginia, Utah, and Colorado, prompting media outlets to revisit an old question of whether noctilucent clouds are caused by global warming.

An interesting side note: Clouds’ water molecules need something to stick to, like dust from Earth’s sand storms, but NLCs are so high up that they may be gathering dust from meteorites.

And maybe water molecules sticking to ash/smoke, too. Enhanced by fire.

In other unsettling environmental news was this from the Guardian on Saturday:

Thirty large whales have recently washed ashore on Alaskan coasts, prompting a federal agency to declare an “unusual mortality event” and mount an official investigation into the mystery of what could be killing so many marine mammals.
Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) are “very concerned” about how many whales are stranding near and on Alaskan beaches, the agency’s Dr Teri Rowles said in a statement.
“While we do not yet know the cause of these strandings, our investigations will give us important information on the health of whales and the ecosystems where they live,” she said, asking for help from the public to report dead or distressed animals.

Right now, the major thought on the deaths was from harmful algal blooms. But so far, they’ve no rock-solid information.  Noaa spokesperson Julie Speegle: ‘“The bottom line is we don’t know what’s causing these deaths.”

And furthermore, to add a twist of even-more mystery:

Researchers have also reported that at least one species of seabird, the common murre, suffered a die-off in early June, “in unusual numbers” and with “many appearing weak” along Alaskan shorelines.
The scientists cautioned that they did not know whether the bird deaths were related to the deaths of the whales.

The age of enhanced weird…

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