June 2, 2017 2:27 AM   Subscribe

The ever ongoing effort to reach equilibrium, or viscosity

Chad Cowan:
The ingredient based explanation for supercell thunderstorms cites moisture, wind shear, instability and lift as the reasons for their formation. I prefer to focus on the big picture. Supercell thunderstorms are a manifestation of nature’s attempt to correct an extreme imbalance. The ever ongoing effort to reach equilibrium, or viscosity, is what drives all of our weather, and the force with which the atmosphere tries to correct this imbalance is proportional to the gradient. In other words, the more extreme the imbalance, the more extreme the storm.
posted by Thella (10 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
That was a really beautiful and well-edited video. I drove through what would probably be considered a supercell storm on Tuesday night on my worktime drive between Spokane and Missoula. I could see it sitting there as I drove toward it and the lightning was not frequent but was VERY intense. The rain driving through the storm was intense enough to have most traffic down to 35mph on an 80mph speed limit interstate.

Back in the late 80s when I worked in Zion National Park for a summer I would get out of work at 11pm and get in my car and drive up to the top of the canyon (through that road with the amazing tunnels) and park on top and watch the columnal summer monsoon desert thunderstorms sweep across southern Utah and Nevada for a zillion miles across the horizon below the uplift that created the canyon. The cassette tape I had in my car that I would most frequently listen to while doing this to unwind after work was Peter Gabriel 4, or Security, or whatever it's called. I wasn't smoking pot at the time, but it would have been the perfect thing to add to that mixture.

Also, playing Kiss Of Life at top volume while driving slowly through that tunnel with your windows rolled down is a pretty amazing experience.
posted by hippybear at 3:29 AM on June 2, 2017 [4 favorites]

Great video, and you won't even realize it's over 3 minutes long. The sequence starting about 1:40 reminded me that daytime supercells are a dime-a-dozen and the badass ones are those that continue into the nighttime.
posted by achrise at 7:47 AM on June 2, 2017

This is what I miss about the prairies. People say, "Oh, the land is so flat and boring," but they don't realize that that's what makes the sky alive and amazing.
posted by clawsoon at 7:50 AM on June 2, 2017 [4 favorites]

Wow. Spellbinding.
posted by solotoro at 8:25 AM on June 2, 2017

Gorgeous and really well done. Thanks for posting!
posted by nevercalm at 8:29 AM on June 2, 2017

Whoa! Ma Nature can be pretty intimidating. As well as beautiful.
posted by BlueHorse at 10:17 AM on June 2, 2017

Stunning, thank you! I grew up on the Great Plains, and these scenes make me feel simultaneously nervous and nostalgic. Nervstalgic?
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 2:40 PM on June 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

About 20 seconds into the video the page suddenly got covered by some "subscribe now" bullshit so I closed the tab. I guess if you want to publish interesting things on that site, better put it in the first 20 seconds.
posted by DreamerFi at 2:44 PM on June 2, 2017

And with the music of Arvo Pärt. Breathtaking.
posted by Oyéah at 4:07 PM on June 2, 2017

Wow! Thank you!

Do you think there's any way to watch it in real world time instead of sped up?
posted by eggkeeper at 3:12 PM on June 4, 2017

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