Weather Blog

Sunrise in Everett was all it was quacked up to be

Sunrise in Everett was all it was quacked up to be

The sun sure put on a glorious display when it arose from the horizon Sunday morning, and it was caught on video.

Jonathan Cooper, whose Seattle-area photography takes up a significant portion of my computer desktop background images, was out with his camera when the sun rose over Silver Lake in Everett.

Aside from the sunrise, Jonathan captured a few other neat meteorological morsels in his video. For one, there was a nice mist that hung over the lake as the ducks floated on by. Check it out:

The mist is a function of a chilly night and a relatively warm body of water. Unlike the atmosphere, which can cool and heat fairly rapidly, water is much slower to heat or cool (why it takes so long for water to boil). So even though lows this time of year are in the 30s, water temperatures are still in the upper 40s to 50s.

When the water molecules evaporate off the lake's surface, its temperature is warmer than the surrounding chilly morning air, so the water vapor instantly condenses into what you see as mist. Once the sun rises, the air warms up to where you don't have that temperature difference, and the mist fades away.

Toward the end of the video, you see the opposite reaction - the frost on the rooftops. Here, the roof surface does a good job of radiating heat back into the air overnight, to where its surface is colder than the surrounding air -- enough to condense the air nearby into dew or, as in this case if it's below freezing, make it frost.

Oh, and in the middle, I think you see a brief sun pillar -- that's the vertical shaft of light above the sun. Those are created when you have thin, high clouds on the horizon and the ice crystals in the cloud refract the sunlight to make a pillar.