Photo of snowy Sussex woodland trail Photo of snowy Sussex woodland trail

Venus in Cirrus

Venus and the brighter stars, like Arcturus, appeared shrouded in a veil this morning.

This was not mist close to the ground – horizontal visibility was excellent – but thin layers of high cirrus clouds. This effect has been used by navigators and travellers the world over as a sign that the a front may be approaching and a weather change is likely.

Cirrus on its own is not a guarantee of anything, but when followed, as it so often is, by cirrostratus and altostratus it is a strong indicator of an approaching warm front.

In my book I give the example of the frequent Greenland traveller, Gretel Ehrlich, who noted during a dog sled trip with a local hunter that a ring circling the sun in the morning signalled bad weather. Similar examples are to be found in deserts, on Pacific islands and among students of weather lore the world over.