Sun Showers and Sunshine Floods

I often, beside the sea, used to gaze out at curtains of rain under clouds, like a skate under a foot.

I’m not sure whether these count as sun showers.  They are instances of rain seen at a distance, rain that can be enjoyed in sun, rain that is not falling on me.

The New York Times of June 21 has an article (sent to me by Howard Wilk) about “Sun Showers”: rain falling apparently without a cloud to fall from, though probably from a cloud that has moved away or has dissipated.

Minnaert’s delightful book on The Nature of Light and Color in the Open Air may well have a chapter on this.  Combinations of rain and sunlight can produce beautiful scenes – indeed, the rainbow, from sunlight behind you on rain in front of you, is a special case.

And the Scientific American of June had a piece (page 21, based on a report by the National Oceanic and Atmosphereic Administration) about “sunshine floods.”  These are high seas that inundate the land in the absence of apparent immediate cause such as storms.  America’s northeast and Gulf coasts have been seeing rising numbers of them.  At Norfolk, Virginia, they occurred two days a year in the 1980s; now, nine days a year.  They are an effect of global sea rise, and especially of the massive loss of Antarctic ice and the thermal expansion of ocean water.  NOAA has made a study of local flood risks along the coast, to an unprecedented level of detail, so as to help local authorities prepare for emergencies.

While politicians such as Senator James Imhofe deny that there is such a thing as global warming, city officials are already having to build earthen dikes and lay water-permeable pavements in hope of defending Norfolk against the floods.


10 thoughts on “Sun Showers and Sunshine Floods”

  1. Climate change is a natural phenomenon. At least we, in the United States, won’t be blackmailed into paying carbon taxes for the rest of the planet. In the case that you were not aware, Guy, most plant life on Earth require CO2.

    1. You should include in your subheadings the term “politics”, because most of your articles include political references. As I visualize it, you are a master politician. However, I read your posts to get the latest astronomical events. I have read your Troy novel multiple times. You are a wonderful artist, author, and astronomy source. With my best regards…….

  2. This is one reason I’m glad to be a resident of the Bronx, the only boro of NYC that is part of the mainland. When the ocean levels begin to rise, all I have to do is drive upstate; head for the hills, no bridges to cross or tunnels to take. Three places on earth are prefaced with the article ‘the’. The Vatican, the Hague, and The Bronx, or in the vernacular, da Bronx. Viva da Bronx! :)

      1. Perhaps I should have qualified my comment by referring to proper places. Sorry ’bout that.

        1. That’s okay. I live in The Upstate, so I understand what it’s like to live in The City. :-)

  3. I confess I don’t know much about the ocean effects of climate change but I do recall President Obama claiming he had stopped the rise of the sea.

Leave a Reply to Jack Gambino Cancel reply