“Lost – yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.”
– Horace Mann
Everyone at one time or another has been in awe of the beautiful red and orange colours of a sunrise or sunset. Although colourful sunrises and sunsets can be seen anywhere, certain parts of the world are especially famous for their twilight hues.
In the days before weather forecasts, people often turned to sayings and proverbs to provide some sort of indication of what the weather would be like in the next day.
- “Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight. Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning”
The saying is actually most reliable when the weather systems predominantly come from the west as they do in the UK. “Red sky at night, shepherds delight” can often be proven true, since red sky at night means fair weather is generally headed towards you.
A red sky appears when dust and small particles are trapped in the atmosphere by high pressure. This scatters blue light and leaving only red light to give the sky its notable appearance.
A red sky at sunset means high pressure is moving in from the west so therefore the next day will usually be dry and pleasant. “Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning” means a red sky appears due to the high pressure weather system having already moved east meaning the good weather has passed, most likely making way for a wet and windy low pressure system.
- St Swithun’s Day
A folklore myth that whatever the weather is like on 15 July will be how it is on the following 40 days and nights.
The Jet Stream does play an important part in predicting how the weather would be for the next 40 days and nights from the end of June or early July. The location of the jet stream shortly after the summer solstice largely determines the following summer’s weather. If the jet stream is located southerly then it is likely to be a more unsettled summer. If the jet stream is in a northerly position then the weather is likely to be brighter and dry throughout summer.
- When halo rings show around the Moon or Sun, rain’s approaching on the run
When a ring appears around the Moon or Sun, sometimes referred to as Haloes, this suggests of approaching rainfall. The Halo is caused by ice crystals formed in high clouds. These ice crystals then refract the light from the Moon or Sun. As the ice crystals travel lower, precipitation becomes more likely. In summer months particularly, the Halo can be a sign of approaching storms.
A ring appearing around the Moon or Sun may also be a result of a Corona. Where the formation of a Halo is due to light refraction, a Corona is formed from light being diffracted. As the light travels through the cloud, it is deflected around the water droplets. This causes a Corona which appears as a circle around the light source.
- “When the wind is out of the East, tis never good for man nor beast”
This weather proverb carries some truth if you consider the various air masses that affect Britain and its weather. The air mass coming in from a North- Easterly direction is the Polar Continental; record low temperatures have been seen due to this air mass affecting Britain. This air mass originates in places such as Eastern Europe and Russia to affect Britain with bitterly cold winds in winter and dry, warm winds in summer although it is usually only apparent in Britain during winter (between November and April).
- “Mackerel sky and mare’s tails make tall ships carry low sails”
This weather proverb originates from a nautical background when different cloud types were used to determine whether sails needed to be lowered. Also referred to as just a ‘mackerel sky’, it is associated with altocumulus clouds while ‘mare’s tails’ refer to cirrus clouds. Both could develop before the instance of a storm which would lead to the lowering of the ships sails. Altocumulus clouds appear when there is a certain level of moisture in the air suggesting rainfall is approaching. The term “mackerel sky” comes from the clouds resemblance to the the scales of the fish mackerel.
- “Rain before seven, fine by eleven”
This refers to the fact that weather systems tend to be variable and move through the UK fairly quickly with the westerly flow off the Atlantic. Whilst this can sometimes means that a low pressure front may have moved through in a morning, this is not always the case and rain can and often does stay around for longer than a morning.
Whilst this saying may sometimes be true, it is far from reliable.
Another benefit of watching the sun rise is catching those first warm tones as the sun low in the sky starts to warm up the world on a frosty winters morning.
The prompt this week on the daily post was “get up early and explore the morning light”, I am not really a early bird, much preferring to watch the sunset, but in the winter months when the sunrise is at a more “social hour” I often head outside, if it looks like the sunrise will be a picturesque one. The only time I really get a chance during the summer months is when my kids are at school and I am on holiday as at any other time my photography time can be a little on the restricted side, as my family for me always has to come first.
I’ll tell you how the Sun rose
by Emily Dickenson
I’ll tell you how the sun rose,–
A ribbon at a time.
The steeples swam in amethyst,
The news like squirrels ran.
The hills untied their bonnets,
The bobolinks begun.
Then I said softly to myself,
“That must have been the sun!”
But how he set, I know not.
There seemed a purple stile
Which little yellow boys and girls
Were climbing all the while
Till when they reached the other side,
A dominie in gray
Put gently up the evening bars,
And led the flock away.
All the weather information was found on The Met office website