Fantastic Atmospheric Events And where to find them

Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights or north of the equator) and Aurora Australis (Southern Lights or south of the equator) are caused by very fast moving electrons hitting atoms in the Earth's upper atmosphere, mainly oxygen and nitrogen.

Hurricane off the coast of Florida. Hurricanes that hit Florida actually form in Western Africa. They start as thunder storms and they build energy and size as the move across the Atlantic Ocean.

This rare picture was taken on July 2008 in Halliday, North Dakota when about 4 funnel clouds almost touched down. The aren't considered tornadoes because they haven't touched down on the surface yet.

Double Rainbow in Malaekahana Bay, Oahu. Double rainbows from by a double reflection of sunlight inside the raindrops, and are centred on the sun itself.

ef5 Tornado in Oklahoma. Ef5 tornados are extremely dangerous, so dangerous the can turn a neighborhood of houses in a clearing of broken pipes and wood.

Dust Devil in Texas. Dust devils form when hot air by the surface rises quickly through a small pocket of cooler air. If conditions are right, the air can begin to rotate. The secondary flow in the dust devil causes other hot air to flow horizontally toward the bottom of the forming vortex.

Ao Nang, Krabi Province, Thailand, during the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in Thailand. Tsunamis are waves caused by sudden movement of the ocean due to an earthquake, landslides on the sea floor, land going into the ocean, major volcanic eruptions or large meteorite impact

Shelf cloud along the leading edge of a derecho photographed in Minnesota. A derecho can produce destruction similar to a tornado, the damage typically occurs in one direction along a relatively straight path. As a result, the term "straight-line wind damage" sometimes is used to describe derecho damage.

Sun pillar in Ohio. A sun pillar is a halo of a vertical shaft of light going upward or downward from the sun. These are usually seen during sunrise or sunset. Sun pillars form when sunlight reflects off the surfaces of ice crystals associated with thin, high-level clouds

Morning Glory cloud formation between Burketown and Normanton, Australia. Morning glory clouds are extremely rare and form when two breezes meet in the middle of the peninsula, forcing the air to rise and form a line of clouds over the spine of the peninsula.

Red or Monochrome Rainbow taken near Minneapolis in July 1980. A monochrome rainbow, usually appears at sunrise or sunset. During this time, sunlight travels further in the atmosphere, and shorter wavelengths (blue and violet) have been scattered. Only the long-wavelength red colors are visible in this rainbow.

Green flash, also called green ray, occurs more commonly at sunset — but can also occur at sunrise. It usually lasts only a second or two, which is why it is referred a flash, as the sun changes from red or orange at sunset.

Crepuscular rays(sunrise) and Anticrepuscular rays(sunset) form from light streaming through gaps in clouds that are parallel columns of sunlit air separated by darker cloud shadowed regions. Airborne dust, inorganic salts, organic aerosol, water droplets and the air molecules themselves, scatter and make the rays of light visible.

Lightning over St. Joe and Lake Michigan. Lightning happens when the negative charges (electrons) at the bottom of the cloud are attracted to the positive charges (protons) in the ground. A bolt of lightning heats the air in its path making it expand rapidly. Thunder is the sound caused by rapidly expanding air.

Rain, hail, sleet, and snow are all forms of precipitation. Precipitation happens after a cloud has condensed and the water collets become to heavy and fall to the surface.

Fun facts!

  • 24-hour rainfall total on record in the U.S. is 42.0 inches near Alvin, Texas, between 7 a.m. July 25 and 7 a.m. July 26, 1979.
  • The largest hailstone in terms of diameter and weight ever recorded in the United States fell on July 23, 2010 in Vivian, South Dakota; it measured 7.9 inches in diameter and 18.62 inches in circumference, weighing in at 1.94 pounds.
  • An average bolt of lightning, striking from cloud to ground, contains roughly one billion joules of energy.
  • The highest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica is 14.6 °C (59 °F), recorded on January 5, 1974
  • The USA has more tornadoes than any other country in the world, averaging around 1200 a year. This is due largely to its unique geography which forms an area in central USA called “Tornado Alley” which is frequently hit by tornadoes.

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