The Only Acceptable Reason For it Currently Being -4 Degrees Outside

A prismatic ice crystal arc around the sun at 8am.

That is it. That’s all. And still, I took the picture by hanging myself out a window, not by going outside. I’m willing to go only so far for art and natural beauty.

Be safe out there, kids. Most places in the US, it’s cold.

— JS

22 Comments on “The Only Acceptable Reason For it Currently Being -4 Degrees Outside”

  1. Beautiful picture.
    FYI it appears Elon Musk must be a Scalzi fan. I read that the drone recovery ship used for the most recent Florida Space X flight is named
    “You Know I Still Love You”.

  2. John, that’s a lovely picture.

    May I use it as a Zoom background from time to time?

  3. Here in Iowa we’ve had below-zero temps every night for almost two weeks. Next week’s forecast says highs in the 30s. Time to break out the swimsuits?

    Friends and relatives in Texas are really suffering, because they don’t have power. For them, this is really exceptional weather. Here in Iowa it gets below zero F every winter so our power plants are designed for such temperatures.

    Note to non-US readers: -4F is -20C.

  4. We’re getting hit with winter slop tomorrow in the DC area…suspect that the folks in Texas would be delighted to get winter slop instead of what they’re getting now…at least it would be warm enough for their power infrastructure to work!

  5. Your beautiful picture beckons me to grab my cross country skis and cut a new trail. This is my favorite time of the year, only if there is snow. I have had a glorious two week period to be out across fields and through wooded trails. Perhaps the first five minutes is a little chilly, but after that I am warm as toast.

    I am now looking forward to yet more snow.

  6. Nice picture of sundogs. If you don’t mind, I’d like to borrow it for possible use in teaching astronomy courses.

  7. As I’ve been known to quip, “You know it’s cold when the only scale on which the temperature is above zero is the Kelvin scale!”

  8. I’ve got Old Man Winter on record here:

    “I’d love to leave a clever riposte, but I’m too busy blowing smoke up your ass! And of course by ‘smoke’ I mean bitterly cold Arctic air.”

  9. Arctic weather can be stunningly beautiful if you’re not dying of it. There’s a thing called Ice Fog that fills the air with twinkling motes – much like a Glittering Dust spell for you D&D folks. Moon Rings are a nocturnal phenomenon I’ve seen only in North Dakota and Washington State. Of course’ there’s the Aurora Borealis – the one time I’ve ever been able “Purple Haze Aloft” into an official weather observation.

    I did get in trouble for that.

  10. Bank’s ships got to choose their own names, as I recall. I’m sure that somewhere in the Banksverse there’s a warship named “That’s Just Your Opinion, Man.”

  11. Other than the scenery, the only good thing about it being that cold is that the fog bears are all hibernating.

  12. This gives me flashbacks to my uni days when I spent several weeks of my life in a dark room building a monte-carlo simulation of these things.

    I was in my late 20s before I actually saw one.

  13. I guess I’ll be the one to fulfill those lingering expectations that someone would say, “Oh, it’s nice here where I live!” And yes, it’s true. In central northern California we’ve had daily highs in the low to mid 60s since last week. I drove to the Pacific Ocean at Jenner yesterday, and while it was cold before the sun rose, at about 37˚F, it quickly warmed up to the mid-fifties with just a mild breeze. Yes, 37º seems cold to me!

    That’s not really good news for us Californians. In my part of the state the year-to-date rainfall is around 42% of what it should be, and statewide things are below the historical “normal.” That in itself is not terribly unusual, as the historical record shows periods of less annual precipitation that last for, say, five to ten years, followed by a year or two of higher precipitation. We had a nasty drought throughout the early “teens” of this century that was only broken by lots of rain and snow in 2016-2017. So, while one gets used to it (sort of), it’s worrisome in this time of global climate change. It’s easy to tell oneself stories about the cycle changing and the drought persisting on and on.

    Of course the opposite is possible, too. We could have a huge amount of rainfall and snow that would flood the entire central valley under many feet of water. It happened in 1861-62, and the record put together by climatologists shows that it is not really that rare. The destruction would be much worse now than it was then, of course, as there is so much more “civilization” to be ruined, to pollute, and to fail. (See Kim Stanley Robinson’s “The Ministry for the Future” for a description of what it might be like if such a flood struck Los Angeles). And the nation overall is very dependent on California for production of many food stuffs like fruits, nuts, and many vegetables.

    And here we are in this ever-changing world.