Backyard Almanac: Sea Smoke and Snow Rope
December has started out rather cold. Typically, temperatures average out to around 20 degrees. So far, the numbers balance out to 12 degrees. Cold though it may be, these odd temperatures have helped bring some interested natural phenomena to the area.
On the morning of December 8th, those along the shores of Lake Superior got a good look at sea smoke. Though the body of water is not a sea, nor is there any actual smoke, the name seems to suit the sight. “The lake has not cooled off enough yet for any ice, therefore the temperature of the water at the surface and the temperature of the air above it have a huge difference,” says Larry Weber of this natural occurrence that almost completely covers the lake from view. “There was a great deal of that happening yesterday.”
Another phenomenon that occurred recently started with the snow build up on tree branches. If snow sits on branches long enough and the temperature rises, the snow will change consistency and take on a stickiness. “The snow will hang onto itself and eventually sag off the trees – this is called snow rope or snow garland,” says Weber. Conditions are looking prime for this to be happening.
Along with cosmic happenings and plenty of animal tracks in the snow, there's still a lot to see in the outdoors. "Get out and take a look... There's plenty to see."