Top 10 AMAZING Weather PHENOMENON Caught on TAPE
Rain, snow, wind – they’re the basics of meteorology that we’re extremely familiar with; but there is a selection of rare events that many of us have heard of, but have never had the pleasure of experiencing. In this installment, we’re exploring the unusual occurrences of the atmosphere and touching on rare weather phenomena that you may catch if you’re lucky.
Also known as the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis is up there as one of nature’s most beautiful displays. It’s a dazzling display of multicolored lights caused by particles released from sunspots. When these particles, or solar wind, reach Earth about 40 hours after they’re released, you get the phenomena that is the colorful northern lights. As the particles pass through the magnetic shield of the North Pole, they interact with the oxygen and nitrogen molecules that produce the colorful lights visible in parts of Alaska, Denmark, Scottland, Finland, Canada, and Iceland. When the weather is crisp and clear with little to no clouds, the lights are at prime viewing. Unfortunately, the lights only peak roughly every 11 years or so.
Catching a Total Lunar Eclipse is a rare feat in-and-of itself, but to catch four in a row is mostly just a stroke of luck and timing. A Lunar Tetrad is the rare occurrence when a quartet of Total Lunar Eclipses occurs 6 months apart without a partial eclipse appearing in between – pretty specific stuff. For an eclipse to be “total,” the moon must be fully engulfed in the Earth’s umbra, or the innermost shadow. So how rare is the Lunar Tetrad? Centuries can go by without an occurrence, as seen in the stretch of the 17th century to the 19th century. In the course of 21 centuries, there have only been 62 tetrads.
It’s likely that this phenomenon is responsible for many UFO sightings and the rarer reported sighting of a time-traveling Terminator, especially since it alluded scientists for so long before finally being caught on film. It wasn’t until around the 1960s that the concept of ball lightning changed from urban myth to scientific fact and even still, it wasn’t until January of 2012 that the event was caught on camera. Researchers from Northwestern Normal University in Lanzhou, China accidentally caught what is believed to be two seconds of ball lightning. Even with the capture, there is little known about the phenomenon, though it’s believed to appear simultaneously with cloud-to-ground discharge and is thought to occur when lightning vaporizes silicate minerals in soil.
An earthquake rumbles the ground, leaving behind a wake of destruction. During said earthquake, witnesses claim to have seen a flash of light which they immediately blame aliens for – because why wouldn’t they? The phenomenon is actually far more natural than extraterrestrials and may even be as simple as an abundance of stress on certain rocks. Rocks like basalt and gabbros, under the pressure of the earthquake, may release an electrical charge that may be funneled through dikes, or vertical structures of cooled magma. The combination of charges could produce a state similar to plasma, which travels at high velocities and bursts in the air, creating these uncommon light shows. Estimations state that less than .5% of earthquakes carry the right conditions for earthquake lights.
The Green Flash isn’t some third-rate super hero. It’s actually quite the spectacle – a flash of what looks like green light that bursts at the horizon. What makes the green flash so unique is that they are visible from so many different spots in the world, typically so long as the view is of an unobstructed horizon. A green flash is caused when the atmosphere separates the light from the sun into two different colors, generally in stable and clean air. There are four different types of green flashes – the Inferior Mirage Flash, the Mock-mirage Flash, the Sub-Duct Flash, and the Green Ray, each visible under certain conditions. For example, one may catch the Sub-duct Flash when they are below an atmospheric inversion.
Like upside-down rolling hills, the Mammatus Cloud is the physical appearance of clouds when they are present in sinking air. Usually formed after severe thunderstorms, the Mammatus Cloud is the product of air with an abundance of precipitation being carried upward in an updraft. As the momentum quells, the air starts to spread horizontally, but the added moisture causes the air to be heavier than normal and so it sinks back towards earth. The process eventually leaves behind these pouched-like clouds that look far more ominous than they are. Due to the very specific and multifaceted conditions that must be present for a mammatus cloud to form and the fact that they dissipate after only a few minutes, the sinking cloud is not a common sight.
The rare Hessdalen Light is likely another culprit in the long list of apparent UFO evidence. The light is visible typically in the Hessdalen valley in Norway and appears as a bright white or yellow luminous glow that stands or floats just above ground level. While many, like the UFO-Norge and UFO-Sweden organizations, would probably show adamancy about the Hessdalen Light being extraterrestrial in nature, there are a few possible explanations that are far less fantastical. The most probable of hypothesis states that the light is formed due to a current created by metallic minerals that react with a sulphurous river, creating a natural battery. Over the course of a year, the Hessdalen Light is observed around 10 to 20 times per year, a massive drop from the 1980s, where it was reported approximately 15 to 20 times per week.
From afar, these fields of sharp, white pillars look like some medieval trap, but they’re really a phenomenon of nature. The snow formations are typically found at high altitudes, their thin blades of ice oriented towards the sun. Rather than melt as it would in typical conditions, snow will sublimate, or turn into a gas without first becoming a liquid. As regions of the snow sublimate quicker than others, valleys in the snow formation is formed, leaving behind taller, pointed peaks. The valleys then act as traps for the sun’s rays, causing further sublimation to occur to give the look of spikes that almost look deliberate. Penitentes are typically found in areas of high-altitude and dry air, such as the Andes mountains.
Sure, it may be argued that this isn’t really a weather phenomenon, but the sudden dropping of animals from the sky is typically associated with some form of meteorological occurrence. Unexpected rainfalls of frogs, fish, and worms have shocked cities and small towns across the globe, causing immediate biblical panic before logic and reason set in and scientific cause is brought into the picture. It is believed that these sudden spouts of organic rain may be caused by something as simple as a strong thunderstorm or tornado. During these storms, heavy winds can have a vertical suction to them and, should such suction occur at the right place at the right time, many of Mother Nature’s beauties can get swept up and deposited like a rainfall.
The rarity of the circumhorizontal arc, a halo that has the colorful properties of a rainbow but none of the make-up, is dependent on what part of the world you live in. These beautiful displays can be witnessed at mid-level latitudes during the summer when the sun is near its highest in the sky. The circumhorizontal arc, sometimes misleadingly labeled as “fire rainbows,” is an ice-halo that forms through refraction of sunlight through plate-shaped ice crystals that are suspended in the atmosphere. The light source of the arc needs to be at an elevation of 58° or greater, so it’s improbable and likely impossible that the display would be visible north of 55° North or south of 55° South.