Little Qat Feet

Dec 23, 1999
It's been quite foggy around Warshington this week.
I've been having fun watching the fog from other vantage points...

Visible light image of Washington state from GOES West weather satellite, 2:00 pm Seattle time Thursday Dec 23, 1999.

All of the smooth, light colored areas are low clouds and fog - very pronounced over the eastern half of the state; less so on the west side.  The brighter white, more sharply defined areas are snow covered mountains that rise above the low lying fog.  The Seattle area was actually mostly clear today, as can be seen by the dark hole in the fog, with Lake Washington being the even darker squiggle in the center of the clear area.  The fog and low clouds are a result of the high pressure weather system that has been parked over the eastern Pacific and western US the last few days.  This time of year, such a pattern quickly results in an atmospheric temperature inversion, where cold air is trapped right near the surface, while much warmer air lies a couple thousand feet up.  While Seattle and the lowlands struggled to get out of the 30s today, Paradise on Mt. Rainier climbed to 56°. and Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic mountains reached a relatively scorching 60°F!

GOES West composite visible - infrared image of western US and northeastern Pacific, 2:00 pm Seattle time Thursday Dec 23, 1999

Composite of infrared (colored blue) and visible (colored orange) images.  The effect of this is to show relative warmth and altitude of clouds.  The orange colored clouds are low and relatively warm, so they don't show up as well on the infrared image (where brightest = coldest).  The white-blue clouds over the ocean mark weak weather disturbances where there are clouds higher in the atmosphere, the more widespread low clouds and fog common over the Pacific this time of year show as orange.  The fog over Washington state shows as mostly orange, hence low and relatively warm.  The snow cover in the mountains also shows as orange, since this snow is not much colder than freezing, 32° F.  The higher clouds, and the whole atmosphere over northern Canada (upper right corner of image) are much colder - on the order of 10°~30° below zero F.

Hopefully by now, you have spent enough time ogling your neighbors from afar in the above two pictures that this animation has had time to load.  Fairly big, but quite neat - it shows a time lapse view from KING 5 Television's Queen Anne Tower Camera as the fog crept back in during the evening.  In the last few frames, the camera has been turned to look at the Christmas light bedecked transmission tower it is mounted on.

Holly Happydays!