ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • Geology & Atmospheric Science

Of Storms and Red Skies

Updated on February 16, 2012

There are many sources for red skies, such as the effects of a long drought and wind

A major dust storm in Sydney Australia caused this red sky, No rain or storm resulted during this drought.
A major dust storm in Sydney Australia caused this red sky, No rain or storm resulted during this drought.
This red sky near a lighthouse can be a presage of a storm from the sea, especially on the east coast.
This red sky near a lighthouse can be a presage of a storm from the sea, especially on the east coast.
This red sunrise did not presage a storm.
This red sunrise did not presage a storm.
A spectacular view of the Sydney dust storm from the bridge.
A spectacular view of the Sydney dust storm from the bridge.
This Vancouver winter fog of early 2009 created a spectacular sunrise. Other than a fog, there was no storm.
This Vancouver winter fog of early 2009 created a spectacular sunrise. Other than a fog, there was no storm.

Red dawns have many causes and often are not precursor to storms

We have often heard that red skies before night is a sailor's delight while red skies at morn, sailor be warned. This has its origins for our culture in the pages of the Bible. But this idea is not universally true nor is it applicable to all climes. It is not even universal for the area of origin, as the weather is a phenomenon based on many variables. These include global cooling or warming, sun-spot cycles, atmospheric obscuration and effects from oceanic changes such as El-Nino.

Looking back into fairly recent history, we can see depictions in art by the British artist Turner who painted many a bright red sunset and sunrise theme. These sunrises were the result of a volcanic explosion half a world away in the Sudra Strait of Java, the home of the legendary volcano Krakatau. In 1883, there was a large explosion that injected a lot of fine dust into the stratosphere. In 1815, Tambora did the same thing. This had two effects; the cooling of world temperatures for a few years and the reddening of skies at dawn and dusk. These were not ordinary sunsets or sunrises as we may know, but they were spectacular enough to inspire poets, writers and landscape painters. Unfortunately, color photography did not exist at the time, so we have to rely on descriptions by the artists, poets and writers. Except for the fact that there were cooler summers for a few years, there were no horrific storms after a red sunrise on a regular basis. As the atmosphere had a lot of dust, spectacular sunsets and sunrises were the norm every morning for about a decade. Certainly not every day was accompanied by storms. Somewhere when the storm season was at hand, but the storm season did not last all year round. For most parts of the world, the existence of red skies does not bode bad weather. Consider the deserts that have nothing but sunshine for almost every day of the year. Except for the occasional dust storms, red skies do not bode ill regarding storms.

Global warming due to greenhouse gasses may induce more storm activity and of a more violent variety, but greenhouse gases as a rule don't make the sky red in the twilight hours. It takes dust to create the effect. Greenhouse gasses trap heat which increase evaporation from the oceans and this means more storms when the moist air is forced to cool at more temperate and polar oriented latitudes. The color of twilight hours has nothing to do with this cycle.

Another culprit in stormy skies is linked to the sunspot cycle. The more sunspots there are, the warmer the weather and hence more evaporation. It often takes a year or two after a sun spot minimum for moisture and heat to accumulate in order to trigger more storms. Red twilight skies may or may not be present. Evidence exists in ice fields and sediment deposits of the average eleven year sunspot cycle. Patterns that correspond to solar cycles can be found in both regions. Cooler weather is associated with low sunspot counts. Sometimes decades or centuries will pass with a no show for sunspots. These correspond to mini ice ages of history.

Dust storms from far away can lost dust into the atmosphere and create red skies locally and far away. Dust often has an iron content and this is what gives a reddish hue during dust storms. The same dust blown up by volcanic activity causes red skies.

Pollution from human activities often colors the sky in shades of brown, but other than obscuring the sun and cooling the area below the obscuration, there is no relation to pollution colored skies and bad weather. The Kuwait oil fires of 1991 did not produce red skies even though global temperatures dropped slightly after the burring of billions of gallons o crude oil dumped massive amounts of soot into the skies. The pollution initially cooled the world, but when the dust settled, the additional carbon contributed to greenhouse warming. Most of the hottest years on record are after 1991. Storm activity intensified, but oil burning will blacken and brown skies, not create red twilight.

El-Nino and El-Nina act in a see saw fashion in changing storm and drought activity around the planet. This has to do with ocean surface temperature changes in the Pacific Ocean that change from hot to cold to hot in a cyclic fashion. The color of twilight has nothing to do with this cycle at all and color changes are subject to other cycles like volcanic ones and human pollution.

The weather has at its root, the energy put into the Earth's ecosystem by the sun. How the sunlight is able to act on the hydrological cycle is dependent on a host of simultaneous factors as described above in all its permutations and combinations. Red skies may or may not be associated with storms when all this is considered.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Abby Lysach profile image

      Abby Lysach 6 years ago from Singapore

      Sometimes, it very exciting watching the red sky at sunset, but then you will feel horrible if you see the world became darker and darker.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)