Absurd weather!

12th February 2016

Frost trees(Above) Low level mist in Kingussie this morning but very much brighter further west on the commute to my place of “work” (….am I allowed to call it that?) Frosted up trees lit by low sunlight on the A86 near Creag Dubh crag. Just too good a photographic opportunity to pass up. Utterly gorgeous.

A86(Above) First prospect of the Post Face when approaching Creag Meagaidh National Nature Reserve on the A86 from the east.

CDrollers(Above) The sky really was that colour! Extensive roller ball activity in Coire Dubh this morning, falling from 860m. Bang on South East aspect.

Really cold air temperatures today but sufficient radiant heat energy from the bright sun to loosen the soft unconsolidated snow surface. Radiant heat not always directly related to air temperature. Really easy to feel the warmth of the sun on your face but bitterly cold in the shade, especially at altitude.

CNGloose(Above) Coire nan Gall photographed from the A86. Two slab avalanches triggered by direct solar radiation; one in a gully, the other on a steep ramp at 850m.  A very steep East aspect. The debris from the avalanche on the ramp was split by the rocky outcrop before it came to a halt in the runout zone.

Drift1(Above) The long ridge of Creag na Cailliche which leads to the summit of Creag Meagaidh itself. (The Moy Corrie is down hill to the right.) Drifting snow at 900m! Bit a slight melt event due to sunlight at 850m, but cold enough a little higher for snow to be scoured from the surface and transported on to lee slopes. Bonkers!

BenAhillsdrift(Above) Looking towards Aonach Beag (Ben Alder) viewed from Meall Coire Choile Rais. Plenty of wind transported snow on the move there. The Easterly wind picked up during the day and is actively stripping and re-depositing snow onto lee slopes, mainly West-facing ones.

Judging by the weather forecast we’ll be seeing more wind transport tomorrow.



Comments on this post

  • Grant Duff
    12th February 2016 7:36 pm

    Coire nan Gall is looking fantastic in your photo. Your first photo near the loch is a strange and wonderful place that so often people drive past in the mist and frost. Thanks for the wonderful photos. It takes those that view them to the place for a few seconds, which truly enhances our lives.

  • colin scrimgeour
    13th February 2016 11:24 pm

    Air temperature is only a small part of the equation regarding the chill effect. I’ve known minus 18 C feel quite balmy. There was strong sunshine reflecting off fresh snow, while the air was very dry and clean ( meaning there was little conductive heat loss). Of course if there had been any wind it would have been very different

    • meagaidhadmin
      14th February 2016 3:03 pm

      Great comment, Colin. Thank you.

      Had a pretty good head-scratch about temperatures at the snow surface and in the air one day back in the 1990s when I worked in the Northern Cairngorms. We had clear azure skies and an air temperature of +6 degrees C. at 1100m but with scouring/drifting of snow everywhere around me! The snowpack was losing long wave radiation to the sky thus keeping the snow surface temperature well below zero. The Met Office too were intrigued and sent a weather balloon up to gather additional data.

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