Category Archives: Atmosphere

Solar Eclipse

Solar eclipse, Selfoss, June 10, 2021.

Today, June 10, a partial solar eclipse is visible from Iceland, where weather conditions permit. It started at around 9 o’clock am and was visible until around 11 o’clock am.  This picture is taken a little before 11 o’clock in Selfoss when the sun could be seen through a layer of clouds.

A total eclipse could be seen in Greenland and northern Canada, and in some places in Russia,  In Northern Asia, Europe, and the United States a partial eclipse could be seen.

Northern Light activity

There has been a peak in solar activity in the last few days but cloudy skies here in the South have often prevented us from seeing them clearly and photographing them.  The North of the country, however, has enjoyed clearer skies and some magnificent shows of Aurora Borealis.

These photos were taken by Lake Þingvallavatn a few days ago when the the clouds gave way to the Northern Lights. Its colours were reflected in the frozen lake and the moon lit up the scenery.

A few nights ago we had some strong Northern Lights in green and beautiful red to pink colours. They could be seen dancing across the sky over Selfoss despite the lights from town.

Mother-of-pearl-clouds

Glitský (perlumóðurský) – nacreous cloud

Mother-of-pearl-clouds have been seen in many places over Iceland in the last few days. These are magnificent manifestations that sometimes appear in Arctic regions from the end November to February. This only occurs in the twilight and can both be in the evening and morning.

This phenomenon appears when it is very cold in the stratosphere (in the altitude of 15–30 km) with temperatures below the ice frost point, near -80°, which turns all moisture in the air into ice crystals.

These luminous clouds are also referred to as Ice polar stratospheric clouds or Nacreous clouds. The photos are taken about one hour before sunrise, at about 10 o’clock, from our house in Selfoss, Iceland.

Low solar activitiy and Northern Lights

Norðurljós – Northern Lights – Aurora borealis

It’s Northern Light time and despite low solar activity they can still take your breath away. For a few days last week we had some Northern Lights albeit not the multi-coloured variety but beautiful all the same.

These pictures were taken around 8 – 10 o’clock in the evening in Grímsnes, South Iceland, temperature around 0° C.

Night shining clouds

Silfurský – noctilucent clouds – night shining clouds

Night shining clouds or noctilucent clouds are not so common. In Iceland they can only seen around midnight in the end of July and the earlier part of August. These are very thin blue white clouds  that reach up to 80 km height, whereas usual clouds only reach up to around 10 km. This natural phenomena was first described in 1885, then only in connection with major volcanic activity. For further information see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noctilucent_cloud

Today these clouds have become more common and are not only seen in connection with volcanic eruption. It is believed that pollution is the cause, i.d. the breakdown of methane gas in the mesosphere. The reason we see these clouds light up are the ice crystal that are generated when methane gas disintegrates.

Last night at 1 o’clock, when these photoes were taken, night shining clouds could be seen from Selfoss, lighting up the northern sky. – If we have clear skies tonight, you might be lucky enough to see these beautiful clouds in the northern sky.

Geomagnetic storms

Aurora Borealis is a mesmerising phenomena. Although solar activity is at a minimum this year the Northern Lights can still be spectacular, as was the case last night.  After midnight I caught these pictures and the Northern Lights were captivating despite the temperature being minus 14° C.

Solar activity is at a minimum this year and will probably be in the next two years as well.  Although solar activity is an indicator for spectacular Northern Lights, it  is not always the case. In the last few days the Earth has been inside a stream of solar winds which cause geomagnetic storms around the Arctic Circle. Thus these magnificent shows of Aurora Borealis.

Winter Solstice

Selfoss, South Iceland at 13:30, 21 Dec.
The shortest day of the year and the longest night have just passed. We wake up to a new day which is supposedly a tiny bit longer than the last one and hopefully a bit brighter. Winter solstice was yesterday. December has been dark, literally speaking. No snow here in South Iceland to brighten up our days, mostly rain with overcast skies. Christmas lights, however, make up for the lack of daylight in the Yuletide celebrations. – Happy holidays and peace on Earth.

Longest day of the year

It is summer solstice – the shortest night of the year. Sunset was at 23:55 and sunrise at 2:57. These are magical nights when the sun is setting and rising so soon afterwards. This photo was taken at 1:30, in the darkest hours, over Ölfusá River and Mount Ingólfsfjall. Now is such a lovely time to go camping because everything is easier when there is light.

At 1:30 in the night

There is more or less daylight all the time and does not get totally dark until July 20. No northern lights can be seen until the middle of August.

Turbulent weather

February wheather in center of Selfoss

At last we can look forward to some warmer days, according to the forecasts, and hopefully less windy. February has been very turbulent, with storms and  snowstorms every other day, resulting in road closures, flight cancellations and the like. Lots of locals, along with the constantly growing numbers of tourist, have had to change their travelling plans. There is no weather guaranty when travelling in Iceland in the winter time. Locals tend to use the summer for travelling, enjoying the warmth of their well insulated geo-thermally heated houses in winter, rather than taking any risks with the turbulence of the Icelandic climate.

Road 1 – Hellisheidi (from webcam) – http://www.vegagerdin.is/ferdaupplysingar/vefmyndavelar/sudvesturland/

Roadmap (SW-Iceland) in the middle of February.