Flying = Best Weather Watching

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You would think with the long lines at security, the delays, the bad airport food and that noisy baby next to you, that I would be like some of you and hate riding in a plane. But truth is, I love it for weather reasons!

You see, as a meteorologist-in-training I am learning about weather, and all weather occurs in the atmosphere. In fact, mostly all weather only occurs up to approximately 39,000 feet, which is the height an airplane reaches at its cruising altitude. So, when I am up in an airplane, I get really REALLY excited. Like nerdy excited….like taking pictures of every single cloud that passes the wing of the airplane! In fact, as I am writing this blog entry, I am in a plane headed home! (You guys won’t see this until I am safely on the ground though).

So here’s what gets me excited and why:

The bumpy air during a stormy day!

You feel that turbulence? It sometimes is unstable air. Unstable air is needed to lift water vapor up into the air to make clouds. Instability is also a key in thunderstorms (MY FAVE!)

Tall Anvil Shaped Clouds!

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What’s an anvil cloud? An anvil cloud is one that forms a tower, has a cauliflower texture and at the top sticks out to one side. The cloud is an indicator of a thunderstorm. As a weather observer on the ground, I can only tell you what is going on at the surface, but when I am in a plane, as long as we are a safe distance away while flying past an anvil cloud, I get to see how high it gets! I had the pleasure to see one of those puppies up close in June over Missouri when I was flying back from a conference in North Carolina and I could not stop taking pictures of it. Incredible!

Sunsets:

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And who doesn’t love a good sunset? I sure do! I love the colors of the clouds when the sunlight hits them. It makes me so happy.

I hope now that you have read this blog, you will get a kick out of the weather whilke flying just as much as I have.

Until then,

-M

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