Friday, September 28, 2012

Three Degrees

This title might be cryptic. For the three or four days after 911, air traffic was stopped over North America. Some brilliant and curious meteorologist investigated the impact of this on temperatures and sky cover. He discovered that the skies were much clearer with the direct effect that night time temperatures dropped on average three or four degrees below the averages established prior to 911. The infra red radiation from the ground at night was not intercepted by the jet contrails and returned to earth. Simply, the nights were clear and cooler with no air traffic.
As I continue to watch the skies, I continue to be dissapointed at how much cloud is man-made. Jet contrails account for a large percentage of the ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. What should be blue skies with a ridge of high pressure are almost always tainted by contrails spreading out with the winds aloft. The blue skies become transformed into overcast but really thin cirrostratus.
This view looking westward from the very shore of Singleton Lake is a typical ridge of high pressure. I think that all of the cirrus clouds in this painting are the results of jets flying in and out of Pearson and the other major airports of North America. There are three main contrails in this painting which also contributes to the title I picked. While I painted several jets left their mark in the sky. I included just one of these contrails coming from Europe and the north. The high contrail casts a shadow on the lower layer of cirrostratus.
The lower and much darker layer of stratocumulus on the western horizon is composed of large and old cloud droplets trapped under the radiational inversion at the top of the planetary boundary layer. Northerly winds just above this inversion created rolls in the cloud top.
The cold air at the ground created "Arctic steam fog" that pooled over the west basin of Singleton Lake and obscured the shore line. Heat and moisture from the lake comprised this fog - my swimming days are likely over for the year as the water cools down to downright chilly temperatures. My hands even got cold while I painted but the sun felt great on my back!
Migrating geese and feeding blue jays provided the fall sound track of this painting.
So if I am ever given the "third degree" on why I painted "Three Degrees", this will be my answer and I am sticking to it.

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