Why does the color of outside look weird and kinda sepia right before/after a storm?


Why does the color of outside look weird and kinda sepia right before/after a storm?

In: 10

Light coming from the sun comes in various colors, or wavelengths. Longer wavelengths (redder colors) are able to penetrate further through things like dust, or in this case the clouds that make up the storm. So the light that reaches the ground, and is bouncing off things for your eyes to see, skews redder than what we’re used to, and things look “warmer” in color tone as a result.

The change in color you notice before or after a storm is due to the way light interacts with the particles in the atmosphere, like water droplets and dust. This phenomenon is called scattering.

Light from the Sun is made up of many different colors, which, when combined, appear white to us. But each color of light has a different wavelength. Some colors have short wavelengths, like blue and violet, while others have long wavelengths, like red, orange, and yellow.

During a clear, sunny day, the sky looks blue because molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere scatter short-wavelength light, such as blue and violet light, to the sides and down towards your eyes. This is known as Rayleigh scattering.

But before or after a storm, the atmosphere is filled with more particles like water droplets, which are much larger than the molecules that make up the air. These larger particles scatter all colors of light more or less equally. This process is known as Mie scattering. Also, storm clouds often block some of the sunlight, reducing the overall amount of light.

When the Sun is low in the sky, like at sunrise or sunset, the light has to pass through a larger portion of the atmosphere, and the shorter wavelengths (blues and violets) get scattered out of your line of sight. This makes the sunlight look redder.

So, when you have all these factors combining — storm clouds, extra particles in the atmosphere, possibly the Sun being low in the sky — the result can be that sepia or golden look you’re noticing.

Wow, so nature is basically giving us an Instagram filter for free?