Sunset Slide Show

My wife and I were outside watching a beautiful desert sunset, and she asked “Does it seem like we don’t get as many great sunsets like we used to? Might it have anything to do with climate change?” My initial reaction was “no” but the more I thought about it I had to wonder.

The slideshow above is a small subset of sunset photos I’ve collected over the years. In fact, I may do another down the road as I’ve no shortage of great sunset photos. I captioned these with only their dates, leaving the descriptions up to you. As I’ve long said, sometimes Sky Lights is just about pretty pictures.

But I do want to address the question posed. I had to agree there didn’t seem to be as many “great” sunsets lately compared to previous years. Could climate change have anything to do with that? Consider that the best sunsets involve clouds, and to get clouds, you need to have moist air moving in from somewhere. In Arizona the source is usually the Pacific Ocean, and during our monsoon season it’s the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico.

Indeed, there hasn’t been as much moist air entering the state for some time now. That’s part of the long-term drought the Southwest has been contending with. And it hasn’t been cloudy as much, as data from my solar electric system shows. That’s a bitter-sweet situation — I’m harvesting more solar energy, but I’m missing out on some great sunsets. Truth be told, I’d rather have the rain.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the slide show. Back to “hard” science again next week.

Next Week in Sky Lights ⇒ Siphoning Hoover Dam

Sidereal vs. Synodic Periods
Q&A: Siphoning Hoover Dam