Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Rare Visit by a Thunderstorm

Sunny days give rise to a warm ground and rising air. As it rises, air parcels cool until possibly the water vapor in them condenses. The fair weather cumulus clouds we see in the afternoon originate this way.

Occasionally, this can lead to cumulonumbus clouds and thunderstorms. This is what happened over NearSys Station today. Here is a collection of what I saw.

Understand, this cumulonumbus had a wall cloud.

Visible image of several layers of clouds.


A thermal image of the same region.

A slow-motion video of two lightning bolts.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Disruptive Neighbors

Ever lived some place and find out that you have disruptive neighbors? Here's the situation I'm running into.


Maybe I should be asking who is being the disruptive one here. The blackbirds to me or me to the blackbirds.

Anyways, I hope my birdie neighbors successfully raise their chicks.

All Sky Photometer for NearSys Station, 19 May 2018

The photometer got a little glitchy in the morning - it may have gotten wet. Perhaps I need to seal the electronics?



24 Hour Temperature and Relative Humidity for NearSys Station, 19 May 2018

The datalogger collected another 24 hour run of data. The results shown below indicate another data spike around 8:30 AM MDT. I believe that's caused by the sun shining on the front porch early in the morning. This gives me more incentive to finish constructing its weather-proof enclosure.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Near Infrared Images from a Beast Space Launch

My latest near space launch carried both a visible and near-infrared (NIR) cameras.

The two best things about near-infrared (NIR) is that it shows healthy chlorophyll as bright white and the fact that images recorded in NIR are crisp and sharp (IR is not scattered by the atmosphere like blue light).

Below are a few example images.




Visible Camera Image from NearSys 18F.

The 179th NearSys mission took place west of Yakama, WA on 18 May 2018. One of the BalloonSats was the HorizonCam and one of its images is shown below.

Open Window (Bellevue, WA) student BalloonSats. This is right after burst at 88,344 feet. All chaos has broken out at the initiation of descent. The BalloonSat chain has whipped around by 90 degrees. The Apeman A60 camera is equipped with a wide-angle lens that distorts the view. The Earth does not appear this curved at such a low altitude. 

UAVSonde Data for NearSys Station, 19 May 2018

The UAVSonde was launched at 9:00 AM MST to collect meteorological and visibility data. Here are the results.

Ground
Temperature: 77.3 deg
Relative Humidity: 44.3%

Flight Level 4:
Temperature: 77.9 deg
Relative Humidity: 34.2%

The visibility was between 30 and 50 miles. The Owyhee Mountains were visible, but it was not possible to see the Boise Mountains, possibly because the sun was in the low east.

East

North

South

West

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Cumulus and Cirrostratus Clouds at NearSys Station, 16 May 2018

Shortly after getting home, I was able to get pictures of some of the cumulus clouds drifting over the house. The cumulus are below the high level cirrus clouds making the sky overcast.

It's apparent to the eye that the cumulus are lower than the cirrostratus clouds, but the thermal imager indicates just how much lower.

The ground has a temperature of 53 dry, the cumulus 38 deg, and the cirrostratus a temperature of 8 deg.

Assuming a dry adiabatic lapse rate of 5.4 degrees per 1,000 feet, the cumulus is at 2,800 feet AGL and the stratus is at 8,300 feet. The distance between the two cloud layers is 5,500 feet, or just over one mile.


The visible light image of a cumulus cloud

The thermal infrared image of the same cliud

The overcast sun appeared as a bright blob in the sky. The thermal infrared viewer indicated it had a temperature of 172 degrees, the hottest temperature I've ever seen in the air. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Cloud Height at NearSys Station, 13 May 2018

Nice cloudscape at NearSys Station, we are mostly overcast with a combination of Cumulus and cirrus. So I'm running the CloudCam right now.

The thermal imager reports the cumulus clouds have a temperature of 31 dry and the cirrus 12 deg. The ground temperature us 50 deg. The weather station reports the air temperature is 65 deg and the dew point 48 deg.

Assuming a dry adiabatic lapse rate of 5.4 deg per 1,000 feet, the cumulus are at an altitude of 3,500 feet and the cirrus at 7,000 feet. According to the weather station, the Cumulus clouds are at an altitude of 3,100 feet.

The thermal image of the clouds over NearSys Station. Note that the cirrus clouds are cooler than the cumulus.

Visible image of the clouds over NearSys Station taken at nearly the same time as the thermal image.

24 Hour and Relative Humidity for NearSys Station, 12 May 2018

The Amprobe TR-200A recorded data on the front porch (in order to avoid getting wet in the rain) for 24 hours. Below is a chart of the data it collected.

There's an interesting spike at 9:00 AM.

UAVSonde for NearSys Station, 13 May 2018

The UAVSonde was launched this morning at around 8:00 AM. The images it returned indicate the visibility was at least 50 miles.

On the ground,
Temperature: 54.4 deg F
Relative Humidity: 71.7%

At 400 feet AGL,
Temperature: 50.8 deg F
Relative Humidity: 73.4%

East

North

South

West

Saturday, May 12, 2018

All Sky Photometer for NearSys Station, 12 May 2018

Because of the risk of rain, the photometers were started later (after it was apparent there would be no rain). Below are the two charts of data collected.



Friday, May 11, 2018

Estimated Cloud Height at NearSys Station, 11 May 2018

Earlier this afternoon, NearSys Station was overcast with dark stratonimbus.

The thermal imager reported the ground temperature was 38 deg and the cloud temperature was 16 deg. The air temperature was 69 deg and the dew point 31 deg.

Assuming a dry adiabatic lapse rate of 5.4 deg per 1,000 feet, the cloud height was either 4,100 feet or 7,000 feet. Both altitudes are appropriate for nimbostratus.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

24 Hour Air Temperature and Relative Humidity for NearSys Station, 7 May 2018

I left the datalogger on the front porch to protect it from direct sunlight. So on the porch, this is how the temperature and relative humidity varied over a 24 hour period.


Monday, May 7, 2018

Photometer Data for NearSys Station, 5 May 2018

Both Photometers collected data starting at midnight. But I had to stop the data collection when it began raining.


Friday, May 4, 2018

Estimated Altitude of Clouds Above NearSys Station, 4 May 2018

The Seek Reveal thermal imager indicated the ground temperature had a temperature of 52 deg and the cirrus clouds overhead had a temperature of -18 deg. That's a difference of 70 deg.

The weather station indicates the air temperature is 77 deg and the dew point is 45 deg. That's a difference of 32 deg.

Assuming a dry adiabatic lapse rate of 5.4 deg per 1,000 feet, the overhead cirrus clouds are at an altitude of 13,000 and 5,900 feet respectively.

I am going to assume the thermal imager is the better value. By the way, the temperature of the cloud-free sky is on the order of -30 to -35 degrees.

Thermal image of the overhead cirrus clouds

Visible image ofthe cirrus clouds overhead

UAVSonde Data for NearSys Station, 4 May 2018

The UAVSonde collected temperature and relative humidity data in the ground and at flight level 4 at around 7:45 PM MST.

Ground
Temperature: 87.6 dev
Relative Humidity: 25.5%

Flight Level 4
Temperature: 78.3 dev
Relative Humidity: 17.7%

Visibility for NearSys Station, 4 May 2018

The UAVSonde was launched at 7:45 PM MST to collect data. Images returned indicate the visibility is barely 50 miles.

Looking east

Looking north

Looking south

Looking west