High temperatures will give 70 degrees a good scare on Saturday as the ridge of high pressure continues to keep the storm track to the north of the Great basin. A trough of low pressure will bump up over the ridge Saturday night into Sunday, which will bring a few clouds to the area Sunday and drop our temperatures back into the mid-60s through Monday, but the ridge builds back in to bring sunshine and high 60s back to the region for most of the rest of the week.

sunrise

Yesterday, we solved the mystery of why the sky is blue. But if that’s the case, why is the sky red at sunset? Here it is a question of the survival of the fittest.  In the evening, the sunlight is no longer traveling perpendicular to the atmosphere, as it is at noon, but at a sharp angle. This means that it has to travel through a lot more atmosphere before it ever hits your eye. When this happens, the blues are scattered so much that they never reach the ground.

If you take the blues out, then only the red end of the spectrum becomes visible. Yes, now when you are enjoying one of those romantic evenings on the shores of Lake Tahoe, gazing into the eyes of the one you love, backlit by a deep scarlet sky, you should all thank the role electromagnetic radiation plays. I know, I’m a hopeless romantic, but we must give credit where credit is due.

sunset

Actually, sunsets can be made much more dramatic if you throw a little dust into the upper atmosphere. The slightly larger than air particles do a better job of scattering the red end of the spectrum, making for some pretty spectacular sunsets. The best way to do this is to have a major volcanic eruption every once in a while. We had some pretty spectacular evening skies after the eruption of Mt. Pinotumbo in the Philippines several years back, and after St. Helens in 1980. When Krakatoa erupted last century, the evening skies were brilliant for years after. I guess volcanoes can share a little of the romantic credit during those times.

 

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