Perseids Meteor Shower Versus The Marine Layer

Tonight should be the best viewing for the Perseids meteor shower. I’ll be out with my camera to try and catch a few burning up as they descend toward Earth. Originally I was going to head to the beach, figuring an unobstructed ocean view would be great. Bad planning on my part!

I’ve reassessed. Cousin Michael and I will head inland instead.

As a meteorologist I’m used to factoring large bodies of water into the forecast. In Connecticut the influence of Long Island Sound often meant the difference between snow and rain on the shoreline.

Here in California our nearby body of water is the Pacific Ocean. Mo water. Mo problems.

Chilly water cools air near the surface making it more dense than the atmosphere above. In meteo terms, it’s an inversion.

Practically speaking this ‘marine layer’ acts as an atmospheric cap helping form low overcast. Sometimes it’s low enough and thick enough to form fog. Sometimes it produces drizzle.

As the day goes on, the Sun’s warmth breaks the cap and the clouds disappear.

The cloudy influence of the marine layer is pretty dependable during our warm weather season. Say the words “June gloom” and locals understand immediately, even in August.

Our home is 12 miles from the water. Since our late June arrival, marine layer overcast has rolled in nearly every night. If I went to the beach to see Perseids, I’d see nothing!

The first mountains east of us should block the clouds. They’re not very far. That’s where we’ll head.

I’m writing this at 9:20 AM. The Sun is beginning to break through after another overcast night. The marine layer cycle continues.

5 thoughts on “Perseids Meteor Shower Versus The Marine Layer”

  1. People here also move east- When you cross east of the Willamette Valley, you lose all of that summer fog and pollution. When you get to the “other side of the pass” to the desert-like area of eastern Oregon, nighttime is like the Hayden planetarium.

  2. Geoff,
    I too am planning to venture out East for the shower. Last year We sat on the pass overlooking lake Elsinore.. the other idea was to head out east of corona..

    what general are are you focusing on?

  3. august 11, 2013

    I need to ask a question about metors showers. early Saturday morning my daughter her a noise and went outside and found a weird but pretty crystal rock but it look different than a normal rock. also it hit the roof. really crystals shining pretty colors. could you help us out

    sheena l maynard
    Waterbury, ct

  4. Geoff…..this is the third time in 69 yrs. (70 in Nov.) that I have made a comment on line…the first two were to you also!! (Long time Conn. fan!!!) Just read your 8/11 meteor comments and had to tell you that I realize you are committed to your website Co. but you should really, REALLY consider teaching!!! I was & am a complete idiot in math. I had to take a remedial course my freshman yr. in college & will never forget the teacher….explained algebra, base number counting, ALMOST made me like math!!! You are ONE OF A KIND and HAVE to share that same talent….keep up the good work. Look forward to reading your blogs everyday regardless of the subject!!!!

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