Friday, August 06, 2010

Lake in the Desert

On Wednesday Laura and I took the day off and took our favorite trip to the Black Range.  I'll be posting pictures from this trip for the next week or so.  This first picture shows a lake in the middle of the Uvas Valley that's usually a dry lake bed, or playa, except after heavy rains.  They've obviously had some heavy rains in the Uvas Valley recently.

In the background is the Black Range.  The dip in the middle of the Black Range is Emory Pass.  We ended up about five miles on the other side of Emory Pass, amid the cool pines.  Conditions in the lowlands:  100 degrees and dry.

The moisture conditions were perfect for the formation of a magnificent banner cloud over the Black Range.  Once the monsoon gets going, a feedback loop is created in the mountains -- the mountain topography creates updrafts which in turn create a banner cloud, which rains on the mountains, which raises the humidity, which adds more moisture to the banner cloud, which creates even more rain, and so it goes.  In a wet summer, it can rain every day in the mountains.

The Black Range banner cloud has a typically flat bottom.  Beneath the bottom of the Black Range banner cloud, and immediately above the mountains, is yet another banner cloud.  It doesn't show in this picture very well, but this other cloud is noticably pinker, meaning it is much farther away.  (This is caused by "atmospheric reddening" -- the same reason that sunrises and sunsets are red.)  I checked on the map and sure enough, this is the banner cloud over the Mogollon Mountains, in the Gila Wilderness, north of Silver City -- 100 miles from where this picture was taken. 

You can see why they called me "Ranger G" back in the 80s.

Coming next:  Green Desert.


Blogger Randy said...

Good Stuff.. and good call on the stair lights! No stumbling on the stairs in the dark will be permitted!


5:14 AM  

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