Well halo there

The weird, pre-frontal weather continues here in Cape Town. Today, it’s 27oC with a gale force Northeasterly wind. There were already leaves everywhere, this being the end of the autumn, but now they’re all over the house as well.

And looking up, this huge halo around the sun. This isn’t because the sun is particularly angelic: it’s actually a fairly common phenomenon due to ice crystals in the earth’s upper atmosphere.

Halos around the sun or moon are said to be a sign of approaching bad weather, which fits for us in Cape Town today: indeed, I’ll be getting a quick braai in this evening, using some of the offcuts from the big wooden boat that our neighbour is building. And because these halos are due to the ice in high, thin cirrus or stratocirrus clouds, which do often appear before bad weather, this seems reasonable. However, high, thin cirrus or stratocirrus clouds can also appear before any other sort of weather too, so perhaps this phenomenon only portends stormy conditions when its observers choose to remember the times that it was actually accurate.