Attenborough’s Weather in November 2013
Photo: Golden sunset on 26th November 2013.
The month of November at Attenborough Nature Reserve is marked by several things, the bare trees, the migrant ducks, and the unofficial start of the ‘sunset season’. With the shorter days, sunset occurs just at the point I am leaving the Nature Centre and heading home, thus allowing me the opportunity to photograph the various colours and patterns that the setting sun casts on the clouds. It could be a faint pink hue on some wispy cirrus, or a deep red on the underside of some rippling altocumulus. The most spectacular sunset I have observed at Attenborough occurred in November 2006, but this November has seen a few good ones too, including a golden sunset on the 26th that no doubt many of you enjoyed. What is the science behind this atmospheric artwork?
The three important facts to remember are: 1) light is made up of different wavelengths, i.e. blue, violet, and red, etc. 2) Light travels through a thicker atmosphere at dawn and dusk than it does at noon. 3) The atmosphere contains billions of dust particles.
When the sun shines high in the sky at noon, the dust particles in the air scatter the different wavelengths of light in different ways. The shorter wavelengths of blue and violet are scattered more than the other wavelengths, and as such this is the colour of the sky on a clear day; the only reason we see it as a blue sky is because our eyes do not pick out violet very well.
At sunset, the light has to travel through a lot more atmosphere before it reaches your eyes, and more atmosphere means more particles which means more scattering of light. The result of this extra scattering is to filter out the blue and violet wavelengths, thus allowing the yellows and oranges to be seen. When the setting sun is just on the horizon, the light has to travel the furthest through the atmosphere to reach our eyes. The extra scattering of light during this ‘long track’ results in the longest visible wavelength of light to become visible to our eyes…namely red!
As the sun sets on 2013, the panoramic views from Attenborough Nature Reserve are perfect for photographing hues and textures of a winter sunset.
Attenborough Weather Data for October 2013 (including long-term norms)
Average temperature: 7.2oC (7.3oC)
Highest temperature: 13.5oC, 11th November (15.2oC)
Lowest temperature: -0.9oC, 26th November (-1.7oC)
Monthly rainfall: 36.7mm (54.1mm)
Solar panels output: 305Kwh (281Kwh)
November 2013 Weather Review
October 2013 Weather Review
September 2013 Weather Review
August 2013 Weather review
July 2013 Weather Review
June 2013 Weather Review
May 2013 Weather Review
April 2013 Weather Review
March 2013 Weather Review
February 2013 Weather Review
January 2013 Weather Review