Weather events and anomalies are a constant source of wonder. It makes sense why humans are left in awe by their power and beauty. Natural wonders are so impressive because they are completely out of our control. These strange weather phenomena in particular are especially magnificent because they are so rare. You may think you know everything there is to know about our world and its weather, but trust us, you probably don’t.
1. Brinicle: A brinicle (brine icicle, also known as ice stalactite) forms beneath sea ice when a flow of extremely cold, saline water is introduced to an area of ocean water, being the undersea equivalent of a hollow stalactite or icicle.
2. Tubular clouds: These clouds form when there are certain temperature changes in the clouds along with precipitation, which literally weighs down parts of the cloud formation making these bumps.
3. White rainbows (fog bow): These rainbows form when the water droplets in the air are about 0.02 mm in size. The diffraction of light splits the spectrum combined to give a uniform white color (or sometimes just a very soft colored tint).
4. Catatumbo lightning: This is an atmospheric phenomenon in Venezuela. It occurs only over the mouth of the Catatumbo River where it empties can occur in areas like northwest Venezuela. When warm and cold fronts meet, it forms the right conditions for this lightning. Not only that, but nearby marshes emit methane gas, improving the electrical conductivity of the the clouds… which helps cause these extended lightning strikes.
5. Moonbow: These “rainbows” form when there is mist in the air, just like normal rainbows. They just happen in the moonlight. If you see it in person, these rainbows may seem white because the brightness so so low. However, if you catch them on camera with prolonged exposure you’ll be able to see these beautiful colors.
6. Gloria: This is another phenomenon that’s a result of diffraction of light in the clouds or fog droplets. These occur when a strong light source is behind you and the clouds reflect the light right back at you.
7. Cappuccino coast (sea foam): Foaming occurs when algae and waste is in the water. These components act as surfactants (like shampoo) and reduce the surface tension, creating bubbles and foam.
8. Sprites, elves and blue jets: These are shapes and flashes of light that people see in the evening or night sky. They are typically blue or red and can be a result from electrical discharges in the atmosphere.
9. Waterspouts: A waterspout is an intense columnar vortex (usually appearing as a funnel-shaped cloud) that occurs over a body of water. They are non-supercell tornadoes over water, and are typically not as dangerous as normal tornadoes.
10. Fire whirls: Fire whirls, also known as fire devils, fire tornadoes or firenadoes, are whirlwinds of flame. They usually occur when intense heat and turbulent wind conditions combine.
11. Morning glory: The Morning Glory cloud is a rare meteorological phenomenon. It has been observed around the world, but no one knows why because it’s such a rare occurence. Morning Glories are usually associated with frontal systems crossing central Australia and high pressure in northern Australia.
12. Volcanic lightning: Also known as a dirty thunderstorm, this is a weather phenomenon that occurs when lightning is produced in a volcanic plume.
Although some of these weather phenomena are harmless, there are some like fire whirls that you should avoid if you ever see them in person. These strange events just go to show that there are so many mysteries in this world, just waiting to be discovered. Share these strange weather events with others.