Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dark Thunderheads - A Supercell

As some of you might be aware, I have been doing a presentation about the meteorology in famous works of art  for a few decades. Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven have been favourite subjects within these presentations. "Dark Thunderheads" by Tom Thomson is a classic example. The painting was probably named by Dr MacCallum or Lawren Harris and neither were meteorologists anyway. Tom’s motivation to “record” this particular observation would have been the nearly constant thunder and the dynamics of a supercell thunderstorm. The persistent rotating updraft, backbuilding anvil and steep flanking line are all characteristic of a supercell. The dark scud (scattered cumulus under deck) cloud is simply a timing issue. I talk about this and more during my presentation depending on the interests of the group.

A real life supercell imitated art just a few weeks ago. This storm had already blown down some trees and hydro lines in Lyndhurst... and across our lane. The colours might be different but the similarities with Tom's painting including the scud, prompted me to take the picture - as if I needed an excuse anyway. The blue box encloses the portion of the storm that Tom fitted to his panel.


Kasey said...

I love staring at these 'vertical beauties' (as I call them) of the late summer skies...so powerful and elegant. Thanks for enriching my experience.

Phil the Forecaster said...

These low top supercells often do not show up well on radar and are frequently missed in the prediction process :>))