Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sunday Morning Upon The High Cumberlands

In The Heavens - May 23, 2010
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Beneath starry skies, while most were fast asleep, my friend Roddy Addington took the lens cap off his camera at 5 AM on Sunday morning, May 23, to point it toward the halo of Earth's Aurora being illuminated by the first rays of a distant sunrise ( far away across the horizon )!

Horizon Glow Above Morning Inversion - May 23
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Looking northeast to the end of Pine Mountain from Birch Knob, in northern Dickenson County, a Sunday morning sunrise was beginning to unfold above distinct temperature inversions.

[ An inversion HIGH within the atmosphere, marked by the awesome color transition, can be clearly seen in addition to a rippling low-level inversion beneath the higher mountains ]. 

A Glorious Morning Sunrise!

Spectacular Setting In High Cumberlands - May 23
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Sometimes everything comes together amid the highlands of the southern Appalachians, like few places on planet Earth, to form scenes of unreal beauty and inspirational majesty!

And So It Was On This Morning!

Waves Ripple Across Top Of Inversion
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Currents of air blowing across top of the low-level inversion created rippling waves upon a sea of fog engulfing the lowlands.

[ Sunrise temperatures varied from 45 to 50 degrees amid the cooler, clear mountain valleys and basins within and adjacent to the High Knob highcountry, to middle 60s upon exposed portions of mid-elevation mountain ridges ( Pine Mountain to Sandy Ridge ) ].

The Sunrise

Sunrise - The Beginning - May 23, 2010
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

In All Its Mountain Glory!

The Middle - BIG WOW - May 23, 2010
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Can It Get Any Better?

The Climax - REALLY BIG WOW - May 23, 2010
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Past Sunrises

Morning Wave Clouds In Color - Long Ridge
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Roddy's glorious morning photography set gives me the chance to highlight some other sunrises from the past, which I have not had opportunity to display, such as this spectacular set of wave clouds from my friend Wayne Riner.

All these photographs were taken within the great Cumberland Mountain Overthrust Block, of which the High Knob Landform ( i.e., geological Powell Valley Anticline ) is its most dominant physical and structural feature.

The common aspect throughout being a seemingly endless variety of mountains and valleys that collectively generate constant motions, both tiny and very large, in the air around us.

Motions which often become most visible in the pristine light of morning!

Illuminated Waves In Morning Light
  Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Waves continuously ripple throughout our fluid atmosphere, during all seasons, and arise from many sources.  They are most common, however, above and leeward of mountainous regions in the world ( a special aspect of our Appalachian climate often taken for granted, and not understood for its impact upon our lives ).

[ Reference the following section of this website to view another special morning filled with complex wave clouds:

Sunrise Over Long Ridge of Tennessee Valley Divide
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Waves in the atmosphere, like those in the ocean, represent energy and its transfer from one place to another.

It is in this way that our mountains interact with each other, often over great distances far removed from where the waves originate!

Air Motions In Spectacular Morning Light
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Even great jet streams aloft are impacted by mountains, with the Andes, Rockies & Himalayas dictating the nature of long waves in the large-scale flow field around the planet ( * ).

*These great mountain ranges generate torques upon the atmosphere whose waves & fluxes of energy are part of intimate coupling between the troposphere and stratosphere ( as modern day research is coming to better understand and define ).

Natural & Anthropogenic Waves In Awesome Light 
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

The Appalachians, although much lower in elevation, also have a major impact upon the flow of air ( from night-time drainage currents to day-time thermals, and much larger orographically forced gravity waves ).

Large masses like the High Knob Landform,     with its atypically wide massif, are like a wide rock in a river that deforms the flow to force changes both up and downstream from its location.

I have explained it before
in the following way...

"The High Knob Massif generates, dissipates, and transfers enormous amounts of energy to places far removed from where it stands, with traces of this energy transfer being followed by the trails of gravity waves that ripple outward away from the massif through the fluid atmosphere in all directions."

The degree of flow alteration changing as the flow speed and volume changes, such that there arises a mutual interaction between the object forcing the changes ( topography ) and the flow field itself ( it is in this way that the HKL can impact a large region of atmosphere in complex ways which are not yet fully understood ).

TOP Of The Morning ( And Inversion Layer )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Morning inversion layers, often marked by condensed water vapor, are especially nice to illustrate the wave nature of this fluid within which we all live ( mostly unaware ).

It is, in fact, such a dominant aspect of life on Earth that nearly everything can be mathematically described by waves ( as in the beating of your very heart! ).

Golden Morning In The Highlands
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

When you combine our complex topography with these morning inversion layers, amid this fluid atmosphere, there can only be ONE RESULT...

AWESOME Beauty, as illustrated
by all the photographs in this update!

Golden Morning In The Powell River Valley 
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Sometimes in order to see and fully appreciate the true beauty in anything one must pause, take a deep breath, step back or above ( like Roddy, Wayne, and Harold ) to view the big picture.

Golden Morning Panorama
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

All I can say is WOW,
I am sure thankful they did!

Follow Up Information
( Research Notes To Consider )

State of Kentucky MesoNet Site
Flatwoods Mountain, Ky., from Birch Knob of Pine Mtn
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

[ The strongest winds in the Bluegrass State are often recorded at the MesoNet Site on Flatwoods Mountain ( elevation 2774 feet ), with orographic gravity waves on southerly air flows typically offering the strongest gusts as they ripple outward from the High Knob Landform-Tennessee Valley Divide to Pine Mountain where its long, sharp crestline favors their downward deflection ].

Regardless of whether you believe in mankind forced changes in climate or not, my research notes on the following should be of some interest to both sides.

It begins with a single question...

The tolerable climate and natural world of planet Earth are united as ONE without possible separation ( i.e., life on Earth is not possible without a tolerable climate ), so just how is it that humans impact Earth most? 

I have explained it as follows in other writings...

Humans impact Earth most by altering its surfaces, which act like synapses of neurons in      the brain, or the interfaces of a computer, where information is selectively relayed to all other parts of the system.

You alter the surface, and the
information relayed is changed
( whether it be for good or bad )!

The surfaces of Earth are relay centers, where transfers of mass, momentum, and diverse forms of energy occur to effectively unite all components of the natural world, the collective array of which forms the climatic system.

[ In this respect, changes in the atmosphere are a direct extension of changes across the surfaces of Earth whether they be anthropogenic or natural in their forcing over time ].

Its all connected, the entire natural world is like the human brain, it is one single but amazingly complex entity, where if one portion changes the other parts must adapt or compensate for those changes. If they don't, the entire system breaks down or departs from its natural pathway.

The only CONSTANT in the natural pathway
of the climatic system being that of CHANGE.

The bottom line...

Humans impact Earth
most by changing its surfaces.

[ Examples:
Planting Trees
Building Cities
Mega-Strip Mines
Gulf of Mexico Oil Release ].

Change is the only aspect of the
climatic system which is absolute.

[ The climate of Earth has always changed,
with or without humans upon its sphere as
surfaces of the planet have always been in
a state of constant change ].

This website pushes no agendas and strives to present only the facts of WHAT IS, so it is now up to each viewer to decide for themselves ( information presented above adding to your thoughts on this issue ).

[ The above adding a new twist to the concept of Global Climate Change that varies in scale from your back yard to the greatness of Plate Tectonics ( both acting to force surface changes ) ].