Sunday, February 07, 2010

Frosted Desert

images from eastern Utah, February 2010

Driving across eastern Utah, at night patches of freezing fog in the low areas, and in the morning, more patches of fog. More like flying through clouds than driving through fog. Ground-cloud, we might call it. The snow evaporates directly, without melting, a process called sublimation. Then the fog freezes new ice crystals on all exposed surfaces. The snow on the ground is rough and crusty. The tips of the plants are delicate ice formations, sometimes extending out a ways, tougher than they look.

The day begins with bright sun, and those patches of fog. Later, thick clouds everywhere, and more fog. Then, by day's end clear skies again. This has been a winter of heavy storms throughout the country. The natives in the desert southwest tell me that this is a winter with more snow and rain than usual, a heavier year for precipitation overall. Even under the sunny skies on the high Colorado Plateau here, in some places there are still several feet of snow remaining.

The trees and sagebrush in the river bosque coated with frost, like a playground of ice beside the frozen stream.

Note that the north sides of the bushes tend to retain the frosted look longer, not being exposed to the direct sunlight.

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Blogger Elisabeth said...

My geography is not good. I think Utah and I think hot and desert like landscape. These photos present a different perspective. They are wonderful.

How are you bearing up in the cold?

4:30 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Hot arid desert, painted desert, is certainly true in summertime, when it can get to 100 degrees F or so in the afternoon.

The cold's no problem, since I'm from the cold upper Midwest. In Michigan as a kid, I remember one year we had so much snow that we couldn't even open the garage door till we dug out the 6 foot snowdrift. Often big snows are followed by cold high pressure zones, when it can down to well below zero. So I cope with the cold okay.

On the other hand, if someone offered me a home on a tropical island, I'd be there in a flash! The cold gets really boring after a few months of it.

1:56 PM  

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