We've just had 11 days of perfect uninterrupted sunshine up here at Cardrona while Wanaka sat underneath a big old cloud... So we sent, Lis our Marketing Intern extraordinaire from Sweden, (and yes she is a beautiful blond) to find out what caused it.
Have you been wondering about the big cloud that sat on top of Wanaka for the last week or so as much as I have? Almost every morning, I woke up, looked out through my window, expecting to finally see the sun and blue sky in town, but what I saw was the same gray thick lid of a cloud. It made me wonder what it was exactly and why it did not disappear.
To get my questions answered, I went to our resident weather guru, Geoff Wayatt A.K.A Captain Patrol. Geoff explained that this big cloud is called an inversion layer and is most common during early winter; June-July. For it to occur there must be a high pressure over the country, which is what we have had for the past two weeks and hence the inversion layer stayed around so long.
Yesterday's big high that kept Wanaka under cloud.
The inversion layer is basically an effect of high pressure and cold air by the lake. The cold air is heavier than warm air, which makes it sink down into the valley. Cold air also supports less water vapor, and clouds are therefore forming quicker in colder temperatures. Up at Cardrona on the other hand, it’s sunny and warm, which is why there is no cloud forming up here. You might have seen in the afternoon about 2pm (when the day is at its warmest) that it starts to clear up and you think wooohoo =), but too late, as soon as the temperature drops around 4-5pm again the cloud is right back to where it was in the morning.
Above: One of our fav local photographers, Simon Darby snapped this picture of the inversion yesterday
Geoff explains further, “if you went into the cloud you would feel small water droplets, which is also why we have the ‘Hoar Frost’ forming in Wanaka”. Check out the cool picture of the hoar frost forming on the wire below.
Above: Simon's beautiful photography strikes again. A cracker picture of the hoar frost
So, what makes an inversion go? Well, it could be one of two things. The wind could change to a westerly or it could warm up.
Today, I woke up and finally saw a little blue sky poking through the clouds and the inversion has gone, for now…