Central Okanagan  

Arctic Sea Smoke show

The video above shows a fairly cool meteorological moment when very cold air hits the relatively warm lake water and creates a Arctic Sea Smoke show.

Environment Canada Meteorologist Jennifer Hay says this weekend's extreme cold made for the perfect conditions.

“Because we had quite cold dry air over most of the province, and it is still early in the season so the lakes are nice and warm, you get that cold air moving across the relatively warm open water and you get upward fluxes of heat from the surface,” says Hay. “So, as the water is condensing and evaporating and moving up into the air and cooling, it swirls around. It is unstable; and as air lifts, it starts to spin, so you get a little bit of plume coming off the surface.”

She says the plumes or spirals seen in the video are very weak and not all related to similar looking weather events in the upper atmosphere like tornadoes or water spouts.

The Arctic Sea Smoke 'steam' or 'smoke' is fairly common this time of year but the plumes or twisting are a little unusual as there has to be the perfect conditions for them to occur.

“You have to have the right stability and no wind,” says Hay.

The video was posted on the YouTube account KelownaVenues. They were able to capture the Sea Smoke show when temperatures around the valley dipped below -15 degrees celsius.


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