Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cloud Formation

Listening to: Crystal Visions - The very best of Stevie Nicks. I picked this up today after realising it met my 'must like at least three or four songs on the album' criteria for buying CD's. Probably should have got a compilation years ago. It has a couple of nice live versions that are about the same as what I heard at the Fleetwood Mac concert last month, and I never realised until now that 'Stand Back' and 'Little Red Corvette' not coincidentally share the same melody (much like Bachman Turner Overdrive's 'You aint seen nothing yet' and The Who's 'Baba O'Reilly, but that is another story.)

I've been enjoying the thunderstorm producing cumulonimbus buildups over the previous few afternoons. An unusual set of windless and warm conditions more suited to a continental landmass than the large islands we inhabit prevailing over pretty much the whole country has seen intense thunderstorms building up in the interiors of both islands each afternoon. Wellington is missing out due to the local topography, but the storms occuring in the adjacent regions of Wairarapa and Marlborough are close enough to be readily visible (even if we aren't getting any lightning or thunder, the cloudscapes are nice).

I like watching cumulonimbus build, the cauliflowers bubbling up until they hit the stratosphere and can go no higher, flattening out into the characteristic anvil shape. Due to their nature they are usually fairly static in location, and if you are patient you can watch a weather system assemble itself in real time. Watching the clouds visibly boiling and rotating upward its easy to see how much raw energy is involved in the process, and to appreciate why they can be so potentially destructive. I also like just how massive these clouds are; they are so out of scale as to appear deceptively close, just over the ridge when in fact they are many miles away (over the next several ridges).

There is also the tension of watching a storm build, approach, and break. I like a good thunder and lightning display, but we don't get them in this part of the country all that often. These pics are all from the last couple of days looking toward neighbouring regions:

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