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Dreary Day, Yet Still Colorful


Gingko biloba, Esplande, Chico (12/2/17) Robert Kermen

Crowned sparrow, Esplanade, Chico (11/2/17) Robert Kermen

Robert Kermen spent a “dreary day” in Chico on Saturday, though photographs he took along the Esplanade show otherwise. That’s because though overcast looms, color is intensified on dreary days.

And, with leaves off many of the branches, songbirds are easier to photograph as they search for food and sing about the weather.


Sailor’s Delight

Folsom Lake sunset (11/19/17) John Poimiroo

Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning;

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.

Why do mariners repeat this lore? Blame William Shakespeare, the playright, or Matthew, the disciple.

In Venus and Adonis, Shakespeare wrote of red skies in the morning:

Like a red morn that ever yet betokened,
Wreck to the seaman, tempest to the field,
Sorrow to the shepherds, woe unto the birds,
Gusts and foul flaws to herdmen and to herds.

In the new testament of the Bible, Matthew (16:2-3), attributed the following red sky at night reference to Jesus, “When it is evening, ye say, fair weather: for the heaven is red.”

These help explain the popularity of the rhyme, but not how it came to be believed or whether it’s true.

Folsom Lake sunset (11/19/17) John Poimiroo

The federal National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Earth System Research Laboratory informs that because weather generally moves from west to east, when the horizon is clear of storms at dusk, sunlight is able to pass through more of the atmosphere.

The longer sunlight passes through air molecules and particulates the more red and orange light is intensified.

That’s because blue light – because of its shorter wavelength – is scattered easiest by nitrogen and oxygen air molecules, whereas reds and oranges – with longer wavelengths – are not scattered as much over the same distance.

And, when there’s no storm approaching from the west, sunlight travels a longer distance through the atmosphere. That phenomenon is even greater in autumn, due to the low angle of sunlight at sunrise and sunset in the Northern Hemisphere.

As for red skies in the morning, the same idea applies, but in reverse. Redness in the sky occurs when warm morning light reflects off high storm clouds approaching from the west.

The reason sailors should take warning when red clouds are overhead at sunrise, is that they are likely the leading edge of an approaching storm, unseen in the morning darkness to the west.


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Storm Arriving

Truckee River (10/19/17) Herb Huang

Foray Rd., Greenville, Plumas County (10/18/17) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Locations like these, shot by Herb Huang and Jeff Luke Titcomb, will be overcast for the next 24-hours as a storm passes over Northern California.

The storm will blow turned leaves from most trees, but it won’t denude them.

Lots of color will remain, particularly on trees that were nearing peak, as they still have the strength in the leaves to, as Avril Lavigne would sing…

Keep holding on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through
Just stay strong
‘Cause you know I’m here for you
I’m here for you
There’s nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There’s no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through