Snow

The Law of Snow

I don't really know much about snow. A lot of its cause has to do with the upper atmosphere which is an alien territory for me. What I do know about Lake Effect and snow in Britain is that it needs to have a blocked situation to freeze the upper atmosphere locally.

And it needs to have a large cyclonic component to draw the upper air down to ground level.
But we all gotta start somewhere, right? …

Lake Effect:
This is a system set up very similar in nature and in effect to that required for tornadoes: A Low forcing itself past a Blocked High.

In the case of lake effect it has to be a Greenland High or some other anomalous situation similar to that. The Low of course is an every day event from Newfoundland.

Imagine two contra-rotating propellers either side of the nose of an aircraft. The downdraught from the propellers meets under the aircraft fuselage. (In early twin engines the draught sometimes met above it.) In either case the winds thrown off meet, because they are thrown in different directions.

It is the same with an anticyclone and a cyclone as they meet. The adjacent winds are going to run in the same direction. I find it easier to imagine them as the eyes and feathers around the eyes of an owl. The beak of the owl points the way that the central channel runs…. ON ONE CONDITION:
The left eye of the owl has to represent the anticyclone and the right eye is the cyclone.

That's all there is to it. The cold air mixes with the warm air to produce low cloud. The sky must be clear for several days prior to the arrival of the Low. Temperatures in winter will be very cold. Water freezes everywhere. Then the hours that the cyclone approaches the temperature rises, humidity increases and the sky is filled with low cloud.

When the air mixes, a fog ensues and produces ice large enough to fall: Freezing Fog in the anticyclone boundary. Snow flakes form from these in the cyclone margin.

Sudden Stratosphere Warming
The upper atmosphere has to have been freezing for quite some time for snow to make it to earth. This takes place with a significant upper atmospheric warming event. The troposphere is where all the weather takes place. Most of the air's moisture remains in here as does about 50% of the air itself.

5 to 10 miles above the ground the last of the water freezes out and a barrier called the Tropopause is reached. Actually all the different layers of the atmosphere are governed by the way that water behaves. The troposphere has so much that it is warmer than the next layer. But its temperature drops steadily with height.

Above that is a band called the Stratosphere. This holds most of the Ozone -a greenish gas that is electro-magnetic. And self destructive. There is some water in here but not much. The stratosphere’s temperature starts at minus 40 degrees C and rise slowly because the ozone and water convert UV light into IR. The water is too cold to coagulate and anyway the molecules are too far apart to meet in quantity.

This layer is the Greenhouse roof.

Somehow, sometimes an anticyclone forms in the upper atmosphere and drives water into the upper layer. This is a stratosphere warming event. I believe it is a phenomenon related to continental winters. In the troposphere a cyclone can drive water up above where temperatures reach minus 70 degrees C and less. If they meet an upper air anticyclone the effect can drive the water further.

I don't know how that is accomplished. In the troposphere an anticyclone brings the upper air down it does not take it up.

But any “particles” capable of forming a transparent cloud will absorb sunlight of one frequency and turn it into another light frequency. And also form an impenetrable barrier to that newly formed frequency.

That's how radiation works. It is called the Greenhouse Effect. Greenhouses use glass to turn sunlight into infra-red. And infra-red can't pass through glass.

Well I think that's the theory anyway. Personally I think a nice dirty atmosphere will provide us with more usable land that we can fight over and kill each other for, so should be encouraged.

Anomalies:
What we are looking for most of the time is anomalies. Situations that change in the normal course of the weather. When we are ill we tend to feel bad in certain weather conditions. We should learn to understand just what these conditions are. Sometimes we can get the hang of treating our bodies with more respect because of the newfound knowledge and avoid doing the sorts of things that bring on pain and injury.

The chief things to look out for are Blocked Weather patterns.
Learn what they are and how they affect the normal flows of the winds and whatever.
Learn to read weather charts and grow used to expecting certain situation to bring about knock on effects. It isn't difficult to do. An experienced local can do a better job of weather forecasting local events than a paid expert working hundreds of miles away. And he can learn to do it in a very short time if he is interested enough.

The paid expert's problems are that he has to cover so much ground and do so in so little time. The BBC seldom gives its presenters more than 2 minutes. A farcical amount of time when you consider how difficult a job it is.

Plus the professional can't hope to know local geography and how things affect other things at very low levels. I used to live in a place where the weather was different just over the river. It could be a nice day on one side of the bridge and hail falling on the other. Nearly every riverbank in Britain has that sort of thing happen along it.

Local hills, too small to mention in a national or even a regional broadcast, will affect the winds and rains of a region for several miles and only a local can forecast that.

Another thing is that all the meteorologist's data these days comes from electronic machines. They are reliable or they would never have been used. But there are moments when a man on the spot could have made a much needed adjustment to the data going out from a weather station.

But you can see anomalies any day of the week on Meteorological maps and charts. The first thing to notice with them for example, is that Lows and Highs tend to keep their distances from each other. It's surprising how many people never realise this happens. Thus a lot less know why.

It happens because the earth is responding to sound waves. Look at the way that a cup of tea vibrates to a loudspeaker. From a still, well mixed, flat top waves suddenly appear but they don’t flow like the waves on the sea. They are Standing Waves. The only way they flow is when the frequency of the sounds from the loudspeaker varies.

And that is why that owlish shape of Lake Effect doesn't immediately collapse as the winds flow from one system to the other. They actually flow away from each other in a physical effect called a Couple.

This is something like Synergy; when a good team is working together it is better than the sum of its parts. And the stream of air from the twin system streams across the east coast of the USA or Canada and picks up all the moisture in the air between the Great Lakes and the coast, brings it all back to Michigan or Illinois or wherever and dumps it all on the power lines.

With a different trajectory it ends up in the plains and causes tornado cells to form.

In Britain a Blocking High in the Atlantic mixes with the Cyclonic stuff out of Europe (a fairly rare event) and dumps slushy snow on us. It doesn't last long but since we are not used to it causes chaos. In North America, where they are used to it, it still causes chaos because there is so damned much of it.

Earthquakes:
Snow has got nothing to do with earthquakes. But it does signal that an anomalous event has taken place: A blocked situation. Nobody knows what actually causes a blocking high or, for that matter, a blocked low. We know what the maths is for it all but weather doesn't cause weather no matter how tempting it is to think one sequence of events causes another.

Remember the standing wave?
What causes all that?

Earthquakes occur all the time. They are usually fairly low key events seldom more than 5 to 5.5 Magnitude. But their severity does appear to be linked to blocked weather. The Canadian EFS model runs illustrate this very well:

When there is nothing anomalous on their charts, the frequency of earthquakes is high but the magnitudes of them are low.
But when two Lows appear side by side on the North American charts, the number of quakes drops and the severity approaches 6M.
And when three lows appear side by side, then you can expect a 7M.

If the chart doesn't show that all has changed the very next day, then things are looking serious. The recent severe earthquakes in Kamchatka took place more than several days after I had forecast a mag 7. I had given up on it but looking back now, I see I was too quick to doubt myself.

I should have been paying more attention to anomalies, chief among them was the fact the charts had continued showing three Lows in a row for several days…
and the snow.

Reports were coming in from a lot of places that snow was falling out of season -or at least; very, very late in it. Then there was the position of the moon. Or rather the weather code for an anticyclone. We did get that anticyclone and in spades but Britain suffered (for a given value of suffering) damp, cold weather. It should have been bright and sunny for us.

The USA had some pretty nasty tornadoes and there was talk of minor eruptions in several volcanoes. These things tend to hit the news only when they threaten our holidays or trade. There are always volcanoes erupting somewhere. None the less, it is interesting which ones do play up and when.

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