Natural phenomena

A Brocken Spectre is a large shadow of an observer cast onto a cloud or mist. So, when a person stands on a hill partially covered in mist or cloud, their shadow can be projected down onto the mist or cloud if the sun is behind them. An optical illusion then makes the shadow appear gigantic and at a considerable distance away from them.

This photo of a Broken Spectre was taken by Emili Vilamala Benito at Tavertet cliff in Barcelona, Spain, and is called Ghost Under Cliff.

Supercells are potentially the most dangerous type of convective storm clouds. They tend to produce severe weather, including damaging winds, huge hail, flash flooding and sometimes tornadoes. Supercells are unique from other thunderstorms because they have a deep and persistent rotating updraft called a mesocyclone.

This photo of a supercell above a golden wheat field in Kansas was taken by photographer Laura Hedien

A waterspout is a rotating column of air that forms over water or moves from land to water. There are two types of waterspouts, fair weather waterspouts and tornadic waterspouts. Fair weather waterspouts are not usually associated with thunderstorms. Less common but more violent tornadic waterspouts, such as this example, form over the water or move from the land to water, with the same characteristics as land tornadoes. They develop from cumulonimbus clouds or thunderstorms. These columns of rotating air extend downwards from the cloud and touch the water surface, often accompanied by strong winds, high seas, large hail and frequent lightning. A waterspout is a column of cloud-filled wind rotating over a body of water. Despite its name, a waterspout is not filled with water from the ocean or lake. A waterspout descends from a cumulus cloud. It does not “spout” from the water. The water inside a waterspout is formed by condensation in the cloud.

This photo of a waterspout in Barcelona, Spain, was taken by photographer Carlos Castillejo Balsera

During a mock mirage sunset, the sun is distorted and appears to be sliced horizontally. This can occur when there are one or more shallow layers in the atmosphere with a temperature difference between each layer, known as temperature inversions. The sunlight is refracted more as it travels through colder layers than warmer ones distorting how an object appears to a viewer. The photograph below also captures an inferior mirage where the distant buildings in Southend appear to be elevated above their normal position. An inferior mirage is also an optical phenomenon due to a temperature inversion.

Brendan Conway took this mock mirage photographs in Tankerton, Kent, UK

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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