A Foretelling Sky

The sun burst onto the scene this morning with a brilliant nearly red sky.

orangesun

After multiple attempts to understand the scientific reasoning behind the saying, “Red sky in the morning; sailor take warning,” I finally got it, thanks to a lengthy-but-simplistic description on NOAA’s website.

The piece I was missing is that wherever there is a high pressure region (associated with good weather), there always exists an opposite low (bad weather). So now I get it, and here is my simplified attempt to explain it to you:

1.) Sunlight appears red when scattered by dust and moisture in the air.
2.) Atmospheric conditions are illuminated best during sunrise and sunset, because that is when the sun travels the longest through the Earth’s atmosphere before reaching our mid-Atlantic eyes.
3.) High pressure traps dust and moisture, so red skies indicate high pressure.
4.) When looking at a sunrise, we are looking east, the opposite of where our weather is coming from.
5.) If we look east and see red, we are looking at high pressure (good weather).
6.) And the final piece of the puzzle: If there is a high in the east, a low will follow from the west (bad weather), so pack your raincoat.

And if you want the full explanation, check out this link.

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