Sunset And Foehn Effect


October 31, 2018 was a day with an unforgettable sunset in many places. On the eve of the Halloween night the sky was burning. Bright yellow and red colored clouds illuminated the sky. The extraordinary evening glow is a typical phenomenon in autumn.

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In Upper Bavaria the foehn effect delivered the perfect conditions for the fire in the sky. The Northern side of the alps was very lucky since there were normal weather conditions during that evening in a year full of extremes. These extremes still continue. The foehn effect was generated by the torrential rainfall on the Southern side of the mountains. Subsequently, wet air was rising on one side and descending on the other side.

Shortly before sunset: The Sun illuminates the cloud layer


Before that Halloween evening there were also severe weather on the Northern side of the alps in Bavaria. There was an extreme windstorm which inter-cut railway connections in Upper Bavaria. Foehn windstorms can be dangerous particular on the mountain tops and some valleys.

Typical Foehn sky: a very clear view of the mountains





During the day the weather had calmed down and there were these impressing cloud patterns in the sky. The good thing was that the clouds got stopped and had not moved too much to the south. Therefore the sun appeared shortly before sunset.

These conditions happen often in autumn and also around New Year in Bavaria. This is always a good time to take pictures.

Intense orange and yellow colors in the west


The hilltops in Upper Bavaria are a good place to watch the foehn effect. The sky is very clear and there are a lot of details visible of the alpine silhuette in the South. However, days are already short and it gets pretty fast very dark.

Unlike some so-called-weather-rules the evening glow doesn’t necessarily indicate a change of weather. The next days were calm on the Northern side of the Alps.

nature as an artist: shortly after sunset


Severe weather continues in many parts of Europe. Particularly in Italy a disastrous situation due to thunderstorms and torrential rain developed. In some higher areas there was a lot of snowfall. Tourists were trapped for some time.

October 2018 was another month in Germany where the weather-anomaly continued. It is still too dry and too warm. Sunshine was above average. A new term was coined in Germany: October-Summer.

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The dramatic “Halloween Sky”

April Weather

April weather has a certain reputation. It is often non-predictable. The German term “Aprilwetter” means usually a rapid change between sunshine and rain. It means a day with a lot of showers and sunshine. But April weather is also about extremes: It happens a lot that winter returns with snow and frost as last year (2017). In some years there is also a first heat wave. I remember years when people in Berlin went swimming in the lakes in April.

Such a little heat wave has happened currently in Middle Europe. However, it seems that this year “April Weather” is a candidate for new extremes: We just heard about many new temperature records in Germany (Jena 29,7 Celsius on Thursday, April 19).

 

But why is April weather so special? There are a couple of factors involved: In April it gets warmer but there is a difference between the landmass and the sea. The sea is still very cold. Furthermore, the Northern regions are still very cold. At the same time, it is already very warm in the South (Southern Europe, North-Africa).

Mountain Warehouse

Typical “April weather” happens when cold air from the Northern Atlantic and the Northern Sea reaches middle Europe and has become more an more humid. Now – over land – the air is getting warm and rises. The condensed water vaporizes and is turned into shower clouds. The whole mass of air is not stable. Since it is still very cold in the upper levels of the atmosphere there is sleet, hail, snow, and rain.

The effect is completed when cold air descends and creates larger areas of clear air between the shower clouds. This way the typical “April Weather” effect is created: a mix of showers and moments of sunshine.

“April Weather” is a normal weather phenomenon, which is a powerful demonstration of the struggle between winter and summer. Some people suffer not only because you could easily get a cold but this weather pattern also triggers headaches.

It can be also a challenge for farmers: for example, the late return of winter in 2017 led to crop failures due to frost. Fruit trees are particularly vulnerable and late frost can seriously damage them.




For photographers this weather pattern is a great opportunity: it is maybe the best time of the year to capture rainbows. Furthermore, the dark shower clouds create impressing and dramatic sceneries in the sky especially in the late afternoon, early evening or in the morning.

The pictures are taken around lake Ammersee in Upper Bavaria on April 1, 2018. During a boat trip, the weather changed between intense sunshine and a lot of rain.

Weather forecasters announced an end of the significant heatwave after the weekend, April 21-22. Then we will most probably see thunderstorms and possibly severe weather. Due to the increased risk of forest fires rain is welcomed.

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Panoramic Viewpoint: Hilltop Near Wessobrunn, Upper Bavaria

In Upper Bavaria, you can find an endless number of panoramic viewpoints. Thus the choice might appear a bit arbitrary. There will be certainly more places to be portrayed in the future but recently I discovered a viewpoint I particularly liked because of the extraordinary setting. There is a village nearby, meadows and woods and there is a free sight of the whole chain of mountains in the south.

It is easily accessible because it is close to the famous Wessobrunn monastery, where there is also a parking space, approximately one kilometre from the viewpoint which is basically a small road and a hilltop leading towards Diessen am Ammersee.

I discovered this viewpoint when I did part of the “King Ludwig 2 Trail” between Diessen am Ammersee and Wessobrunn. The viewpoint is certainly the highlight of this section of the trail. It is possible to do this (not recommended if it gets too warm) but there is no restaurant or such thing between Diessen and Wessobrunn. Due to the length of this part, it might be most suitable for a bicycle tour.

Sunday, March 11, was the first really warm day (17 Celsius) after the period of the arctic cold (“Beast From The East”) in Southern Bavaria. This was mostly due to the Foehn-Effect, which happens often during the wintertime. Foehn leads to an unusual rise in the temperature. The air becomes very clear and there is a clear sight of the mountains with many details. This day, however, there was also a special phenomenon, the so-called “Föhnkante”. This is a distinct border between clouds and the clearer part of the sky. It appears when the Foehn-Effect starts to break down. Subsequently, the following days were much colder and more winter-like.

In March there is little green and if the sun is behind higher-clouds colour in the landscape isn’t much appealing. But this time of the year between winter and spring could be interesting to capture structures in photography. After some time where I played a bit around with the pictures, I decided to present it in black and white. Black and white is often an interesting option and could reveal much of the special atmosphere of a place. The trick is not just to switch to black and white but trying different things with the software. There are also very good black and white filters in the NIK-collection software.

The viewpoint can be reached easily: you can use the parking space at the “Tassiloweg” behind the monastery. From there a steep path leads to the “Schloßbergstr.” The “Schloßbergstraße” leads to a settlement called “Haid” but do not walk towards the settlement but straight. The street becomes a small single road (better not go by car there because it is really very narrow and there is no parking space). It is great for a walk. There is also a seat there near the viewpoint and its fantastic for a rest – and of course to take pictures.

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The viewpoint is also not so far from the Hohen Peissenberg. Both places are very suitable for weather-photography. The place near Wessobrunn could be also of particular interest for sunsets or sunrise. It presents a very typical Upper Bavaria landscape setting.

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The most dominant mountain in the silhouette in the south is the Zugspitze. Seen from the viewpoint near Wessobrunn you have the Hohen Peissenberg with the big antenna in the foreground before the Zugspitze. It is good to choose a day like this one with the Foehn-Effect or come very early to capture the whole dimension of the view. The lower hills and the bigger mountains in the background add to the depth of the scenery.

The picture above is taken from the viewpoint and shows the whole Hohen Peissenberg. In the middle, there is a church. On the right side, there is a small tower, which is part of the weather station of Deutsche Wetterdienst. On the left side and also in the picture below is the big antenna.

February 26-28: Extreme Artic Cold In Europe

It’s Tuesday and light snow is falling. There is a pale sunlight at the same time as the sky is mostly overcast. Shortly before the begin of the “meteorological spring” winter arrived in Europe. Seen from my window the nice winter setting outside doesn’t tell about the extremes which befell Europe over the last days.

After a moderate winter in Middle Europe, a Siberian cold front reached Europe. It happened what had been forecasted in weather models days before. However, there is a surprising intensity of extreme weather these days in Europe: The UK was hit by lots of snow, and Rome is seeing snow for the first time in many years. Last night temperature was – 27 Celsius on top of the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain. In Eastern Europe, there are very low temperatures and the danger increases particularly for homeless people. In Germany, there isn’t a lot of snow so far but the strong wind from the North-East makes it a bit of a challenge to stay outside for a longer time.

The blast of cold air from the artic has been already labeled: “The Beast From The East”. Scientists say that this happened due to “a freak warming around the North Pole”. They are somewhat alarmed about the retreat of Arctic ice during winter and the high temperatures. This weather pattern allowed the cold air on the other side to reach huge parts of Europe. There are now condition in Europe in some places which would normally apply to the polar region. It is not clear if global warming is causing this strange pattern or if other reasons are responsible.

However, very cold temperatures are not so unusual in February but what’s unusual is these sudden drops in temperature. They occurred also over Northern America in the last years and remind us sometimes on the “Day After Tommorrow” scenario in Roland Emmerich’s movie, even we can’t compare this to the “new ice age”.




In this weather-conditions, there are many things to see. Even if there is not a frozen-waterfall nearby, wind, snow, and ice create interesting patterns or sculptures.

It is always promising to look what happens at a lake or a river. Here are some pictures which were taken at the Bavarian lake Ammersee.

Weather services announced warmer temperatures for the end of the week, but in these times we never know what exactly will happen. Thus, there is still time to do more pictures. Staying outside is normally not a big problem with the right clothes, however, some common problems need attendance: cameras and tripods get extreme cold and it’s painful if you have to take off your gloves. Batteries don’t last too long in the cold, but these problems could be handled with a little preparation, for example, do apertures settings and other settings before going outside if possible.

In the surrounding hills around lake Ammersee there are many open fields and spruces. The wind and the ice led also to bizarre formations.

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