A line on the sea

Roque Teneguía and a line on the sea
November 18, 2017

La Palma sits in the trade winds. Most days of the year we have a stiff breeze from the northwest. That creates most of the island’s climate: the wind hits the island at Barlovento (which means “windward”) and gets flows uphill. As it rises, it cools down and forms clouds. Sometimes it rains, and Barlovento is the wettest part of the island with a metre of rain per year. By…

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Ice at the Roque

February 22, 2017

Yesterday I went to work as a tour guide at the observatory. At 9a .m. it was 6 ºC, but the ice from overnight was still there, glistening inthe sunlight. Fortunately the road was almost completely clear.

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Stormy waves at Los Cancajos

Los Cancajos beach, Bre;a Baja pon a windy day
July 14, 2016

Visits to the Roque were cancelled for the last two days due to high winds. It hasn’t been particularly windy at sea level, but looking at the weather stations at the Roque, the telescopes have had gale force winds. It was only gusty when I went for a walk along the cliff top in Los Cancajos, but the sea was wild, I think from winds further away. The red flag…

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Winter’s finally arrived

The MAGIC 1 telescope in the fog, Roque de Los Muchachos, La Palma island
February 19, 2016

We’ve been having a weirdly mild winter, to the point where the violets were blooming last week. Now we’ve got the same polar vortex as everyone else. I was going to post photos from the webcams at the Roque, but most of them have less to look at than this: It’s -2 ºC up there. Meanwhile down at sea level we’re all complaining about the cold. It’s 13 ºC, which…

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Sahara Dust

Sahara dust blowing over the Canaries, seen from Space
March 12, 2015

After an colder-than-average winter, the temperatures here have shot up. This happens whenever the trade winds give way to calima – a hot, dry wind and dust blowing from the Sahara. We used to get it only in summer, but for the last few years it’s been happening earlier in the year. Actually, it’s really nice at this time of year. Suddenly it’s warm enough to sit on the beach,…

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A Photo of the Canaries wins Tournament: Earth 2014

The Canary Islands from NASA’s Terra satellite on June 15, 2013
April 9, 2014

Every year NASA holds a competition to chose the best photo of Earth. The Canary Islands won this year’s Tournament: Earth is again. (Last year’s winner was a photo of the submarine eruption off El Hierro.)   The Canary Islands sit in the trade winds and the Canary current, both of which come from the north east. This photo, taken by NASA’s Terra satellite on June 15, 2013, shows long…

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