What a grouch pot.
I follow University of Washington meteorologist Cliff Mass's Weather Blog but Monday's on "June Gloom" confirmed that many people prefer clouds when they accompany a wallop of dramatic weather. The more subtle clouds such as the stratus--the force behind the "June Gloom" are maligned as boring, oppressive, and frustrating to life itself. Here is what Mass says about them in his blog:
"June Gloom, one of the frustrations of life west of the Cascade crest, has arrived early and the results--incessant low clouds--have arrived."
He doesn't even use their proper name--stratus--to identify these low, layered clouds! They are merely "incessant low clouds" that are an impediment to a Pacific Northwest lifestyle. Sure, we got a delicious taste of summer in early May this year, but that doesn't entitle us to non-stop blue skies and fair-weather cumulus clouds from that point forward.
Stratus--the lowest of the ten basic cloud types--is one of my favorites, especially fog. Fog is the lowliest form of stratus cloud as it's base touches the surface of the earth (ground or water). It can hang around and make you feel gloomy, but when I started writing my book on clouds, I realized it wasn't the fog that caused this feeling. It was the fact that I was under a roof, under a ceiling, and not out in the fog.
Walking in the fog is anything but gloomy. Try it. It is rarely one shade of gray and rarely uniform in thickness and opacity. If you get up close to fog (or slightly higher stratus) you can actually see individual water droplets. Stratus clouds are not formed by thermals (the force behind cumulus clouds as described in my previous posting), but mostly as the water vapor in warm, moist air cools and condenses as it comes in contact with or passes over cooler water or ground.
I have written much about my ramblings in fog over the past few years. My most memorable ramble included a swim in the fog. And a hot tub afterward.
To read May 25th Cliff Mass Weather Blog click here.
Enjoy every cloudy June day!
May 27 UPDATE: Cliff Mass Weather Blog today features beauty of low clouds! Click here!