January 9, 2011 by torqdog
(click on any photo to enlarge)
I love my job! It has me out and about which affords me the opportunity to see many beautiful things and I always have a camera on hand of some kind to capture that beauty. Lately here in the Carson City area, we’ve been experiencing very cold temps (single digit to lower teen lows with highs in the low 30s) with a strong inversion layer in place. The perfect conditions for Pogonip.
In the western United States, ice fog is commonly known as pogonip. It occurs very rarely during cold winter spells, usually in deep mountain valleys. Ice fog can be quite common in interior and northern Alaska, since the temperature frequently drops below -40 °C (-40 °F) in the winter months. Pogonip only forms under specific conditions, the humidity has to be near 100% as the air temperature drops to well below 0 °C (32 °F), allowing ice crystals to form in the air. The ice crystals will then settle onto surfaces.
The name pogonip is an English adaptation of the Shoshone word meaning “cloud” (payinappih). The English-speaking settlers who encountered this unpleasant and sometimes scary phenomenon when they went out West in the 1800s needed a word for it and they borrowed it from local populations.
Supposedly, western Native Americans called it “frozen death” because it took so many lives from upper respiratory infections.
That’s a Golden Eagle sitting on the upper right branch
A closeup of that Golden Eagle
Yes, the Ice Goddess wears a wig.
I don’t need a weather station to tell me it’s cold outside, but it helps.
This photo illustrates what I sometimes find in my line of work. Taken on 12/08/2009 when it was -15 degrees, we just postpone orders on meter sets like this until the afternoon “thaw” allows ice removal. Fun stuff!