Tag: clouds

How do clouds fit into the climate change puzzle?

New study says projections based on observed trends may underestimate future global warming

Tonight's full moon rise was fully obscured by clouds, so I reached back into the archives for moon shot.
Shifting cloud patterns could affect future warming trend. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

The impact of clouds is still a missing piece in the global warming puzzle, but scientists with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory say they’ve identified a mechanism that could help narrow the information gap. In a new report, the researchers say the spatial pattern of clouds is key to determining how they affect Earth’s energy balance — and that studies relying solely on recent observed trends are likely to underestimate how much Earth will warm due to increased carbon dioxide.

Clouds influence Earth’s climate by reflecting incoming energy from the sun and reducing outgoing thermal radiation. As the surface of the Earth gets warmer, the  net radiative effect of clouds also changes, contributing a feedback to the climate system. Continue reading “How do clouds fit into the climate change puzzle?”


Morning photo: Cloudscapes

Sky drama

FRISCO —I’ve always been fascinated by clouds in their many shapes, and especially by the way they interact with the Earth and sea. From dripping coastal fogs to towering thunderstorms and ice-filled stratus clouds, it’s always seemed to me that they represent the connection between the sky and the more solid, touchable parts of our biosphere, cycling energy, in the form of heat and water, between the realms. For daily photography updates, follow our Instagram feed, and visit our online gallery for an amazing selection of prints and greeting cards.

Morning Photo: Sky shots!

Got clouds?

Layers of clouds and color over Dillon Reservoir.

FRISCO — We’re getting near the time of year that dishes up the most intense sky colors, as the first autumnal weather systems mix together with the remnants of monsoonal moisture. That means layers of clouds at different elevations, like in the top shot in this set — look closely and you’ll see soft, gray cumulus hugging the distant peaks, while a mid-elevation cloud deck helps reflect light and color back toward the ground. And in just a few weeks, as the upper air wind patterns shift for real, we’ll start seeing some of those great wave clouds building over the Rockies, a sure sign of the changing season! Continue reading “Morning Photo: Sky shots!”

Morning photo: Mountain glory

Got sky?

An iPhone shot captures sunset light over the Gore Range.
An iPhone shot captures sunset light over the Gore Range.

FRISCO — It wasn’t until I finished posting this set that I realized how clouds are featured in every shot — although I guess it shouldn’t surprise me. Try to imagine how any of these scenes would have looked with an empty blue sky. Still nice, probably, but not nearly as dramatic. In fact, the clouds really alter the quality of the light, especially in the Peak 1 shot, and it’s really all about the clouds in the Dillon Reservoir scene. With the monsoon gradually building, it’s time to grab your camera and head for the hills. Send us some of your images and we’ll feature them in an upcoming photo essay, and don’t forget to check out our online gallery at Fine Art America! Continue reading “Morning photo: Mountain glory”

Morning photo: Water vapor

Cloudscapes …

An impressive pile of clouds over the Continental Divide at sunset.
An impressive pile of clouds over the Continental Divide at sunset.

FRISCO — Now that we’ve had a couple of more normal June-type days (hot and windy), I’m already missing all the moisture we enjoyed last month, mainly because it’s the key ingredient for the formation of interesting clouds in Summit County skies. We probably don’t need any more rain right now, considering that stream flows are near all-time record highs, but just remember, three weeks of weather like today and some forests, especially at lower elevations, will be susceptible to wildfire. In Colorado, you’re really never more than a few dry months away from a drought, so enjoy the wetness while you can. Continue reading “Morning photo: Water vapor”

Morning photo: Cloud 9

Vaporous …

Collapsing thunderstorm.

FRISCO — Clouds. We often take them for granted, or see them as a nuisance if we’re in the mood for a bright, sunny day, but clouds are, of course, an essential part of the cycle of life on this planet, transporting water vapor throughout the atmosphere, distributing moisture and affecting climate in ways we are just beginning to understand. For a photographer, clouds are often the perfect foil for landscape shots, helping to soften the light and add drama to what otherwise might just be a blank space. Even if you’re not a photographer, take some time one of these days to check out what’s going on in the sky above you. Visit our online gallery at Fine Art America for more Summit County landscape and nature shots.

Continue reading “Morning photo: Cloud 9”

Morning photo: End of summer …


Dusk light on Dillon Reservoir.

FRISCO — Slowly, almost imperceptibly, summer is giving way — but not without a fight. Some years, a sudden cold snap at the end of August, often accompanied by a dusting of snow on the peaks, brings a sharp reminder of the fact that we live at 3,000 meters elevation. But not this year. Instead, the flow of moist, subtropical air out of the southwest has persisted, bringing moist relief to the forests of the Colorado high country. You can almost see the young trees drinking up the water. When the monsoon eventually ends, it’s going to be a rude awakening, at least for photographers who have been enjoying the rich play of clouds in the sky nearly every day. Continue reading “Morning photo: End of summer …”