Talking about the weather is the go-to subject for boring watercooler chit-chat, so it's easy to think of the weather as stale, predictable and not worth thinking about. But how wrong you are! While a normal rainstorm or light snowfall will give you a gorgeous natural treat without even leaving home, the weather is capable of some truly impressive spectacles. Check out some of these climate phenomena seen around the world.
1. Beneath the sea ice, hollow stalactites called brinicle (yep, that's as in, brine + icicle) form under the ocean. Because it is so fatal to the organisms within meters of it, brinicles are often called the "ice finger of death".
2. When temperature changes alter the precipitation of cloud formations, certain parts of the clouds are weighed down in bumps, called tubular clouds or, if you want to dominate Scrabble, vymyaobraznye clouds.
3. When air precipitation is in drops of 0.02 mm in size, the diffraction of spectral light usually makes the ROYGBIV rainbow split into a uniform white color, called, as you might expect, a white rainbow. Because of the boundary effects of the droplets, the rainbow can have an orange tint or a purple inner radius.
4. In Venezuela, the mouth of the Catatumbo River empties in the northwest, merging warm and cold weather fronts within close proximity of marshlands. Because of the warm and cold fronts mixing and the methane gas released by the marshes, the electrical conductivity of clouds increases, creating an annual 10-hour continuous lightning storm called Catatumbo lightning.
5. The elusive moonbow (moon rainbow) is too dim to be seen with the naked eye, but is visible in long-exposure photography. Moonbows form as a result of mist, just like rainbows, but are refracted from the much gentler light waves of moonlight rather than sunlight.
6. When clouds are thick enough to reflect a strong light source behind you, you'll see this rainbow refraction of fog droplets called a glory or Gloria. It's often seen around the silhouette of high-rising objects like airplanes or mountaintops.
7. Deliciously called "the Cappuccino coast", this latte-colored foaming happens when algae and water pollution become surfactants (a mixture that is found in shampoos, hand soap, detergents, and lowers surface tension, for example).
8. Electrical charges in the atmosphere create these flashes of brilliant light called sprites, elves or blue jets.
9. When a strong columnar vortex, often a funnel cloud, occurs over a body of water, a non-supercell tornado forms, called a waterspout. Thankfully, these are usually not as destructive as normal tornados.
10. Fire winds, sometimes called fire devils, are whirlwinds of flame caused when intense heat and intense wind conditions collide.
11. A rare meteorological sight, the Morning Glory cloud formation occurs with changes in frontal systems in high pressure over northern Australia.
12. When lighting is produced in a volcanic plume, you'll see volcanic lighting, known as a dirty thunderstorm.