“We can speak without voice to the trees and the clouds and the waves of the sea. Without words they respond through the rustling of leaves and the moving of clouds and the murmuring of the sea.”
~Paul Tillich, a German-American theologian and philosopher
Clouds of smoke were thankfully replaced as a gentle onshore flow spread cooling fog inland last weekend. The fresher air quality was welcomed in spite of the bump-up in humidity. The moisture-laden air was compliments of marine fog and a monsoonal flow from the south. I had hopes, based on sound conditions, of cooler temperatures. In spite of the drop of a few unfelt degrees, there was little change in the weather. It was still hot!
In my mid-summer, weather-induced delirium, I came across an amazing and refreshing phenomenon. A sense of awe came with my finding. Captured on canvas by an artist painting a seascape, cursed by sailors as they “battened down the hatches” during a storm at sea and welcomed by beach-goers on a warm summer day can all result from one common source – sea spray. Although the misty saltwater droplets sent skyward by crashing waves seem simple in nature to the casual observer their impact on climatic conditions is complex and significant. They not only reflect light back to space, but cause cloud formation. Little did I know!
Scientific studies, including those from UC Davis, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and NOAA, have concluded the ocean’s fine mist contains more than just sodium chloride or salt. Each droplet also holds a substantial fraction of organic compounds; these include bits of marine life residue, plankton and bacteria. Winds blow across the ocean’s waters and waves crash along the shores, sending spray far into atmosphere, where it collects as clouds. Realize the mist that cools our skin is the basis for a storm.
At last, a break in the summer heat is expected. Concerning the weather through the weekend, the NWS Area Forecast Discussion predicts, “A very hum drum almost June-like forecast for the extended period.” During this time, due to a deepening marine layer, below normal temperatures will extend into non-coastal areas. Seeing (or in this case feeling) is believing. By next week summer weather temperatures slowly resume.
We can leave summer behind as our attention shifts to Rio. The location for the 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro is below the equator; therefore, August is a winter month. Crazy if you think about it! Would the Olympic committee ever choose a venue to host the winter games during their summertime? Lack of snow could be a problem for the skiers, perhaps.
“Let the games begin!”
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at email@example.com.