A Letter to Mother Nature: a book review

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 11:52 AM GMT on June 05, 2012

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One of the features of wunderground.com that I'm most proud of is one all of you can take credit for--our wunderphotos. Each day, users of the web site upload an average of 500 - 600 photos of some of the most beautiful and spectacular natural phenomena on the planet. We all share the same atmosphere, and one really gets a sense of that connection when we look at the wunderphotos, which come from every corner of the planet. Since 2003, 1.5 million wunderphotos have been uploaded, with over half a million just in the past three years. We have a dedicated team of volunteer reviewers that screen each photo, and I owe a big thank-you to all of you who have served as wunderphoto moderators. One of our most dedicated wunderphotographers, Lucy Woodley (wunderhandle: observing), was inspired to collect a set of 90 of her favorite wunderphotos and put them into a book. Her effort, A Letter to Mother Nature, was published this May. Each photo in the book has a sentence above it, poetically describing the scene below. It only takes a few minutes to whip through the book, but the spectacular images and thoughtful text invite one to linger longer and contemplate the natural beauty we are surrounded by. Here's a sampling of the text and images from the book, with wunderphotos by SunsetFL, CameraDiva, and Sharrose:

Dear Mother Nature,
Quite simply, I am in awe
of you and here is why...

You remind us to always look up...



...for there are great wonders overhead.



We can't resist dancing in your meadows.




A Letter to Mother Nature is $14.99 (paperback) from amazon.com. Proceeds from sale of the book go to support the disaster relief charity Portlight.org, founded by members of the wunderground community. I give A Letter to Mother Nature my highest rating, five out of five stars.

Rare transit of Venus today
I hope all you wunderphotographers will help document for us today a rare celestial happening--a transit of Venus across the sun. On June 5th at 3:09 pm PDT, Venus will begin a historic 7-hour transit of the solar disk, appearing as a dark spot against the sun's blazing face. This will be the last transit of Venus across the sun until 2117. As always, when viewing the sun, be sure to do it indirectly, or use a proper filter such as a #14 welder's glass to block the sun's eye-damaging rays. NASA.gov has more info. I'll link the best wunderphotographs taken of today's transit at the bottom of this post tonight and Wednesday morning. Below is one from Venus' last transit of the sun, back in 2004. Thanks, wunderphotographers!

Jeff Masters

Venis in transit (tillerdog)
Venus in transit across the sun June 8, 2004. Taken at sun rise in Flagler Beach Floirda ( USA ) with a 850mm lens by photojournalist Jim Tiller.
Venis in transit
Transit of Venus (redtim)
Transit of Venus from the Wunderground Office
Transit of Venus
Venus Sunset 7 (Nikongranny)
Venus across the sun during a cloudy evening.
Venus Sunset 7
Transit of Venus (LaddObservatory)
Despite thick clouds we were able to capture a brief glimpse of the planet Venus transiting the Sun. This image was taken with a modern digital camera attached to the historic Ladd Observatory telescope (1891) The clouds thinned just enough to capture this one image at 6:21:38 PM EDT, just moments after second contact.
Transit of Venus
Venus and sunspots at sunset (Llamadave)
I took this from a telescope projection on a white surface in West Lafayette, IN
Venus and sunspots at sunset
Transit of Venus 2012 (Guruchild)
I used a first generation canon digital rebel, a 300mm telephoto lens, a circular polarizing filter, and the low atmosphere to capture this beautiful amateur photograph of Venus dotting the Sun's disc.
Transit of Venus 2012
Venus transit (milfeld)
Venus transit

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Several severe storms have already popped up in Wyoming... I'm especially watching one just to the ENE of Cheyenne.
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I see a low in the BOC though! Also with all that moisture like that any development would be monsoonal.
Member Since: June 4, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 767
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
18z GFS



It looks more clear about having Carlotta after the 15th. Let's see if the GOM long range development continues to show up in future GFS runs and hopefully on the ECMWF.
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You guys thinking that Houston doesn't have hope for rain well you got to believe in yourself! It will happen sooner rather than later.
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1316. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
test 123
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Another disappointing GFS run... It has Carlotta with no signs of Chris other than maybe a tiny little low in the southwest Gulf near the end of the run.
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Quoting ncstorm:



E X P A N S I O N.. two days ago there wasnt even a hint of yellow in the GOM on the 850 mb map

and separating apart
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1313. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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No storm in the Atlantic on the 18Z GFS, just a bunch of disorganized thunderstorm activity.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31883
324 hours out.

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18z GFS

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1309. yqt1001
Port Carling - Port Severn
6:20 PM EDT Wednesday 06 June 2012
Tornado warning for
Port Carling - Port Severn issued

Severe thunderstorms likely producing a tornado are imminent or occurring in the area near horseshoe lake and is moving southward near highway 400. Large hail, damaging winds and heavy rainfall may also accompany these storms.

Emergency management Ontario recommends taking cover immediately when threatening weather approaches.



Town of Parry Sound - Rosseau - Killbear Park
6:20 PM EDT Wednesday 06 June 2012
Tornado warning for
Town of Parry Sound - Rosseau - Killbear Park continued


Severe thunderstorms likely producing a tornado are imminent or occurring in the area near horseshoe lake and is moving southward near highway 400. Large hail, damaging winds and heavy rainfall may also accompany these storms.

Emergency management Ontario recommends taking cover immediately when threatening weather approaches.

Canadian tornadoes!


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1308. Sangria
Quoting bohonkweatherman:
Where did you live? Did you live in Texas in the terrible drought of 2010 and 2011? I have been here over 50 years and never did I see anything like last year and I fish just about every Lake in Texas or I try to.


North of Austin....Lake Belton
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I'm in Kemah, TX. Looks high and dry (and HOT). Read from the Sciguy blog Galveston is off to it's warmest year on record.
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Statement as of 5:23 PM CDT on June 06, 2012

... Significant weather advisory for Hardin... Jasper... Newton...
Tyler... Jefferson and Orange counties... significant weather advisory
for Lafayette... Acadia... Calcasieu... Jefferson Davis... Vermilion...
St. Mary... Iberia... St. Martin and Cameron parishes until 630 PM
CDT...

At 520 PM CDT... National Weather Service meteorologists detected a
line of strong thunderstorms from 6 miles northwest of Thicket to
Jeanerette... moving southwest at 15 mph.

* The line of strong thunderstorms will be near...
Saratoga and Nederland by 530 PM...
southeast Texas regional Airport... Intracoastal City... Creole and
Cameron by 535 PM...
Holly Beach and Grand Chenier by 540 PM...
Port Acres and Johnson Bayou by 545 PM...

The primary threats from these storms are continuous lightning and
pea to nickel size hail. Seek shelter in a safe home or building
until these storms have passed.

These storms could produce rainfall amounts of one to two inches in a
short period of time... resulting in ponding of water around low lying
roadways. Remember... do not drive your vehicle into water covered
roadways. The depth may be too great to allow a safe crossing.
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Curious as to what the outflow boundary coming from Beaumont is going to do as it goes SW, will it do nothing, explode new storms over Chamber/Liberty counties, or blow up storms later on past Houston/Galveston and put us right in the dry slot


Die out or we will be in the dry slot :-/
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 598
Quoting Sangria:
I can't help but comment...I lived in central TX for almost 30 years...had a boat in the marina on the lake...never knew from one year to the next whether we could walk down to the marina from the parking lot normally, or whether we would need the john boat to get to the boat dock (as it was flooded) or if we would just pay slip rent to not have access to our boats that were in slips where the docks were pulled way out into the lake( due to drought). From my memory (not a table of stats) Texas has always had massive fluctuations in rainfall from year to year, and it was just something that we dealt with...nothing new about that....
Where did you live? Did you live in Texas in the terrible drought of 2010 and 2011? I have been here over 50 years and never did I see anything like last year and I fish just about every Lake in Texas or I try to.
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Curious as to what the outflow boundary coming from Beaumont is going to do as it goes SW, will it do nothing, explode new storms over Chamber/Liberty counties, or blow up storms later on past Houston/Galveston and put us right in the dry slot
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Quick local update...the storms hit I 10 then headed west and a storm formed to the south exiting Orange Co. Didn't get a drop here right in the middle. :)

Now...


EXTENDED FORECAST DISCUSSION
NWS HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER CAMP SPRINGS MD
157 PM EDT WED JUN 06 2012

WRN NORTH AMERICAN HEMISPHERE TROPICS CONT TO BE BASICALLY
INACTIVE AT THIS TIME AS SEEN BY CHI VELOCITY POTENTIAL ANOMALIES
INDICATING UNFAVORABLE CONDITIONS. THIS MAY WELL CHANGE IN A WEEK
TO 10 DAYS AS INDICES SHOW AN INCREASE AS THE SOUTH AMERICAN
MONSOON ACTIVITY SHIFTS NORTHWEST INTO CENTRAL AMERICA AND
SOUTHERN MEXICO WITH BETTER CONDITIONS OVER THE WRN CARRIBEAN AND
ESPECIALLY THE TROPICAL EAST PACIFIC WHICH IS TYPICAL JUNE
CLIMATOLOGY. LONGER TERM RUNS OF GFS CONT TO SHOW AN INCREASE OF
DEEP SERLY FLOW THRU THE WRN CARRIBEAN INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO
WITH A RETURN OF MORE WESTERLY FLOW ALONG 10N AT H850 PRODUCING A
MORE LARGE SCALE CYCLONIC FLOW PATTERN ALSO INCREASING MORE
FAVORABLE LONGER TERM TROPICAL EAST PAC CONDITIONS.
ROSENSTEIN
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1301. Sangria
I can't help but comment...I lived in central TX for almost 30 years...had a boat in the marina on the lake...never knew from one year to the next whether we could walk down to the marina from the parking lot normally, or whether we would need the john boat to get to the boat dock (as it was flooded) or if we would just pay slip rent to not have access to our boats that were in slips where the docks were pulled way out into the lake( due to drought). From my memory (not a table of stats) Texas has always had massive fluctuations in rainfall from year to year, and it was just something that we dealt with...nothing new about that....
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Are these storms even moving??
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Quoting Grothar:
A lot of people don't know Uranus has a series of rings around it like Saturn

Jupiter and Neptune do as well, though not as impressive as Saturn's.
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Quoting bohonkweatherman:
Lee took me from highs around 100 to 105.

This is the biggest forecast bust I've ever witnessed.

Almost like a practical joke.
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1297. flsky
Just took the dogs out for their walk here in Ponce Inlet, FL and, of course, it started raining cats and "dog!" Figures. Has rained off and on all day..
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


Is this an indication of DOOM?!?!

Maybe....Looks like its right on the border of TX/LA
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Quoting RitaEvac:


Be like Lee of last year, just fanned the fires more and drier air was filtered in along with more heat

Hopefully it will give us some rain
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1294. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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Some nasty storms near Cheyenne.
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1292. ncstorm
NHC

img src="THE GULF OF MEXICO... CLUSTERS OF SCATTERED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS CONTINUE TO AFFECT THE EASTERN AND SOUTHERN PORTIONS OF THE GULF THIS AFTERNOON. THESE TWO MAIN AREAS OF CONVECTION ARE REPRESENTED AS A PAIR OF NEARLY STATIONARY SURFACE TROUGHS ANALYZED FROM 27N86W TO 24N89W...AND 25N91W TO 20N95W RESPECTIVELY. THE CONVECTION IS SHOWN ON VISIBLE SATELLITE IMAGERY FROM 20N-24N BETWEEN 90W-95W...AND FROM 23N-28N E OF 90W. MARINE OBS FROM BUOYS IN THE VICINITY OF THE EASTERN SURFACE TROUGH HAVE REPORTED WIND GUSTS OF UP TO 25 KTS. WHILE LOW LEVEL CONVERGENCE FROM SURFACE CYCLONIC CURVATURE CAN BE SEEN FROM SATELLITE VIEW ON BOTH FEATURES...THE MAIN SUPPORT FOR CONVECTION DRIVEN BY MIDDLE TO UPPER LEVEL DIFFLUENCE BETWEEN AN UPPER TROUGH MOVING ACROSS THE FAR EASTERN CONUS AND AN UPPER HIGH CENTERED OVER CENTRAL AMERICA. THIS WEATHER PATTERN IS FORECAST TO SLOWLY TRACK EASTWARD. THEREFORE...EXPECT CONDITIONS TO DETERIORATE OVER THE WESTERN COASTAL WATERS OF THE FLORIDA PENINSULA DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.">
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Quoting RitaEvac:


Be like Lee of last year, just fanned the fires more and drier air was filtered in along with more heat
Lee took me from highs around 100 to 105.
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Quoting Stormchaser121:
Looks like a Texas/Louisiana storm coming up...


Is this an indication of DOOM?!?!
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1289. Grothar
Quoting CybrTeddy:


That image is to scale.

While Venus is obviously is not that large compared to Jupiter, one must remember that Venus is closer and comparably larger than it would be to Jupiter.

Think of putting a penny about a thumbs length away from you then a quarter and arms length away from you and lay down your stomach and look directly at the penny then the quarter - the penny would appear as large as the quarter.

Perspective, basically is what the image is showing.


So that explains why my neighbors on the end of my street look so small and my neighbors next door look so big.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25996
1288. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
lots of sea breeze and lake breeze action today and tommorow as well summer pattern taking hold now
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Quoting bohonkweatherman:
That kind of storm brings Hotter and dryer air into Texas, hope it doesnt form


Be like Lee of last year, just fanned the fires more and drier air was filtered in along with more heat
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Vorticy circulation still ESE of Brownsville, south of Lake Charles, LA in west central gulf
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Quoting RitaEvac:


Worst situation for TX, Nada drop of rain
That kind of storm brings Hotter and dryer air into Texas, hope it doesnt form
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1284. hydrus
Quoting Neapolitan:
But if Venus is, say, four times closer to the observer (you) at the time of transit than is Jupiter, its apparent diameter would exaggerated by four, making it appear to be roughly one-third the diameter of Jupiter--as the conceptual image shows.
Thanks..I am laughing at myself right now...Normally I would have caught that..I,m really offing a have day..:)
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Quoting Stormchaser121:
Looks like a Texas/Louisiana storm coming up...


Worst situation for TX, Nada drop of rain
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
And TX burns up on the dry side, typical


Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
1281. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
i will be 124 then may not see too well but i will try and stop by for a peek
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1280. hydrus
Quoting CybrTeddy:


That image is to scale.

While Venus is obviously is not that large compared to Jupiter, one must remember that Venus is closer and comparably larger than it would be to Jupiter.

Think of putting a penny about a thumbs length away from you then a quarter and arms length away from you and lay down your stomach and look directly at the penny then the quarter - the penny would appear as large as the quarter.

Perspective, basically is what the image is showing.
I understand now....If today was a fish, I would throw it back..:)
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Looks like a Texas/Louisiana storm coming up...
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Even the dove laying on her nest in the gutter in the back yard looking at me in distress
99 here and still humid, not a cloud in the sky, Oak Hill in West Austin has 104 with Heat index of 111. Just think only 3 more months of this. :)
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1277. ncstorm
now mind you..this is 96 hours out..(I feel I have to put a disclaimor up now every time I post a model run)

12z CMC
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Even the dove laying on her nest in the gutter in the back yard looking at me in distress

You're just going to go have to water the dove.
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Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
1274. ncstorm



E X P A N S I O N.. two days ago there wasnt even a hint of yellow in the GOM on the 850 mb map
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Sorry, Some1has2BtheRookie, I crosswired my own thinking when comparing Mars and Venus: ie compared 2 extraordinary-in-opposite-ways cases of Jupiter transit rather than all possibilities.
So 1261 has been deleted
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Quoting hydrus:
What I meant was, Venus is 7520 miles in diameter, Jupiter is just under 89,000. That would mean you could put 11 Venuses side by side, and it still would not be as wide as Jupiter. Venus is looking way to large.


That image is to scale.

While Venus is obviously is not that large compared to Jupiter, one must remember that Venus is closer and comparably larger than it would be to Jupiter.

Think of putting a penny about a thumbs length away from you then a quarter and arms length away from you and lay down your stomach and look directly at the penny then the quarter - the penny would appear as large as the quarter.

Perspective, basically is what the image is showing.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23882
1271. Sangria
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
That's weird. At my house in Odessa, I haven't recorded any gust over 10mph lol.


I am in New Port Richey, and the highest gust we had was 26, at 10:45am.....the tree that fell up in Hudson is 9 miles N of me.....I would say very narrow window with the high winds....and also, I have not had any significant precip since this morning.
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Quoting Skyepony:
Had a 27mph gust here.
nastyheretoo
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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