Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Welcome to the Nerd Herd

Tonight I actually got a chance to see some noctilucent clouds. A couple of my coworkers called and told us to go check them out, so we all ran outside to look at them. Noctilucent clouds are clouds that are lit long after sunset. They can be as high as 80,000 ft up, which is extremely high. Most high clouds are in the 18 to 25,000 ft range, with some thunderstorms reaching as high as 50,000 ft. Noctilucent clouds are actually pretty unusual, although they've been seen more and more often in recent years. No one is really sure why. Here's a picture of what they look like:
Anyway, I've never seen them before, so I thought it was pretty cool.

It's kind of funny, the whole bit about being a meteorologist and running outside to check out the clouds. There's a pretty big dork factor involved. I often want to talk about cool clouds, or what thermodynamic process could possibly be causing some weather feature, but I keep it to myself because I know other people will laugh and roll their eyes. So it's a relief when I'm with other meteorologists and we can geek out without anyone giving us crap about it.

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