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One a clear day you can see...


17 Apr 2012 12:14AM
Have been experimenting with stitched panoramas from very high hills. Yesterday visibility was pretty good and I could see distant hills that I wouldn't normally see but they were still pretty hazy.

When, generally, is visibility best? I've been looking at BBC Weather lately and they predict the visibility as good or sometimes very good.

Will visibility get better or worse as summer comes? Are crisp cold days better for visibility? What times of day are the clearest?

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loweskid 13 2.0k 1 United Kingdom
17 Apr 2012 12:53AM
The best visibility usually comes with north west or northerly winds when they bring cold clear Arctic air. Generally speaking summer is worse, especially when we get a high pressure system giving those hot and hazy days. But again it all depends on the origins of the weather system - I've had very clear visibility in August in Scotland in a cold westerly showery air stream (which also has the advantage of keeping the midges at bay..!). Often the atmosphere can be very clear for a short time just after a weather (cold) front has gone through, though it's usually a case of just being in the right place at the right time.

Winter can give very clear weather - those cold crisp days can often give valley fog and mist but be very clear above. The best days (in my opinion) on the mountain tops are those rare days when there is a 'temperature inversion', when the tops of the mountains are poking out above a sea of cloud - sheer magic. Keep an eye on the Met Office mountain area forecasts, they will usually say when the tops are likely to be above the cloud.

It's difficult to say which time of the day is clearest. I can see the Pennines from my bedroom window and, although I would say that the morning is generally clearer, it sometimes happens that it suddenly becomes much clearer towards evening, which is exactly what happened today.

In short - it's pretty much unpredictable. Just get out and about as often as you can and sometimes you'll get lucky..... Grin
NEWDIGIT 3 401 United Kingdom
17 Apr 2012 8:45AM
As an ex land surveyor clarrity of vision was essential for accurate readings we therefore allways took our critical readings on crisp cold nights as there is no heat haze, little light polution and even better if they follow a rain shower as the rain usually washes the dust out of the air.also periods of high pressure generally help.
Not much help for photography unless you like night shots but the same should apply during the day. Crisp cold still wind
JohnParminter 7 1.3k 14 England
17 Apr 2012 10:00AM
Pat, agree with all the advice above. High pressure, cold air from the north, after rain and usually winter months provide the best air quality for visibility.

MWIS provides air clarity predictions on their excellent mountain weather forecasts for all major UK mountain areas.

Warm moist air from the south, dust, volcano activity, heat haze and air pollution reduce air clarity.

I think it is pretty predictable knowing the weather conditions and from experience.

JP
Thanks for the input, extremely helpful Smile

I suppose if you wanted to do them in the summer you could get up very early (or stay up til early hours). You'd avoid the heat haze by doing that?
NEWDIGIT 3 401 United Kingdom
20 Apr 2012 11:04AM
SUMMER ENGLAND HEAT HAZE Wink

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