Monday, January 5, 2009

Ice Fog and Sundogs

From Wikipedia:

Ice fog is any kind of fog where the droplets have frozen into extremely tiny crystals of ice in midair. Generally this requires temperatures at or below −35 °C (−30 °F), making it common only in and near the Arctic and Antarctic regions. It is most often seen in urban areas where it is created by the freezing of water vapor present in automobile exhaust and combustion -products from heating and power generation. Urban ice fog can become extremely dense and will persist day and night until the temperature rises.

Here in Winterpeg, we have experienced ice fog from all the cars during severe cold weather when there is no air movement. Now, we like it when there is no wind, but it does create rather adverse driving conditions when you can't see the car in front of you and the road is polished to pure glass by the spinning of tires as people try to get moving once the light turns green. The exhaust from the cars just hangs in the air, obscuring your vision and creating plenty of work for the local body shops.

From Wikipedia:

A sun dog or sundog (scientific name parhelion, plural parhelia, for "beside the sun") is a common bright circular spot on a solar halo. It is an atmospheric optical phenomenon primarily associated with the reflection or refraction of sunlight by small ice crystals making up cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. Often, two sun dogs can be seen (one on each side of the sun) simultaneously.

Sundogs cause us Winterpeggers to cringe. When we see those, we know that is is f*cking cold outside! They only seem to occur when the temps are well below -20C. They are quite beautiful, though, especially when they are rainbow coloured like they were today.... it was -33 when I was driving to work just before 11:00 a.m. The sundogs were large on either side of the sun, quite colourful, with a rather elongated (up and down)shape.

From Wikipedia:

Radiation frost (also called hoar frost or hoarfrost) refers to the white ice crystals, loosely deposited on the ground or exposed objects, that form on cold clear nights when radiation losses into the open skies cause objects to become colder than the surrounding air.

I love hoar frost! It dresses up all the trees and fences, and anything else left sitting outside in the winter. When the sun shines on it, it glitters like diamonds in the light, giving the world the look of being coated heavily in fairy dust.

I could, however, totally live without the temperatures that drop below -15. I love four seasons, and I do enjoy the snow.... but when it is colder than a witch's t*t, it really makes me wonder how we puny humans survive this crap.

Isn't it spring yet?


  1. You're right! That's all very pretty to the eyes but very harsh to feel! The hoar frost is pretty. You know, it makes me wonder why those Inuits and Eskimos never ventured far south when they first landed thousands of years ago! Clearly, Canadians have adopted the same hardy lifestyle!

  2. Eros: That would have been a long way to go... And since a lot of their food came from the ocean, travelling overland may not have appeared to be attractive from a survival standpoint. The rest of us Canadians are all immigrants who pretty much stuck to the 49th parallel...

  3. Sun dogs seem to be possible in warmer weathers too. And apparently there can be four of them at the same time!

    Check this out:


thoughts floated through the ether...