Red skies in the west

by Andy Bryenton

This week has seen the Kaipara region, and especially the west coast treated to the sight of some spectacular sunsets. According to meteorologists, these have been caused by particles of smoke and ash in the high atmosphere, blown across the Tasman from the bushfires, which have ravaged parts of Australia in recent weeks. The remnant of ‘flammagenitus’ or ‘pyrocumulus’ cloud formations, which can form over large fires or volcanoes. This mix of water vapour and smoke particles catches the rays of the setting sun, causing a dramatic red display. Ironically, particles such as these can become the ‘seeds’ of rain clouds, causing thunderstorms far from the fire that created them, even as firefighters wish for rain where they are battling the blaze. Photographed near Maungaturoto.