Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wednesday Vignette: Clouds, natural and not

Last week, in the early morning under gray skies, I noticed some odd cloud formations and immediately grabbed my camera.  As I framed my photo, I realized that these weren't clouds at all but rather vapor produced by heat - and who knows what else - released by the oil refinery located about 15 miles to the northeast.

If you look closely at the horizon, you can make out at least 18 columns of vapor.  I've periodically seen flames from what I assume are exhaust flues but I've never noticed a mass of vapor emissions like this; however, my husband says he's seen this before during the evening hours.  It may be that the vapor plumes were just more noticeable than usual due to the cold damp air.


Maybe it looks innocuous from a distance but the facts are more than a little scary.  This refinery was the site of a serious explosion 2 years ago.  Local residents scheduled a protest at the site marking the anniversary of that event on February 17th, only to have their plans scuttled by another explosion and fire at the refinery.   A fuller discussion of the 2015 incident and the concerns arising from it can be found here.  With the Environmental Protection Agency now under the leadership of an individual who's expressed interest in dismantling many of the agency's existing protections, it's unclear what assistance residents of the South Bay can expect in addressing the refinery's ongoing problems.

To end this post on a more positive note, here's a photo of real clouds at sunset the day before yesterday.

View looking roughly southeast toward Angel's Gate, the entrance to the Los Angeles Harbor, with the pink of the clouds reflected in the ocean below


For more Wednesday Vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

16 comments:

  1. A stunning sunset. (The sun, seems like I've heard of such a thing but it's been so long since we've seen it here I wonder if I'd reognize it.)

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    1. We've seen a lot less of the sun ourselves this winter, Peter, although I expect we're still luckier than you in that respect. However, today it's not only sunny but the temperature is forecast to reach 80F! (It's a brief, Santa Ana wind effect.)

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  2. What lovely skies!

    I do not miss owning a gasoline-powered vehicle.

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    1. Yes, an America without the current heavy dependence on oil and gas is a wonderful thing to contemplate. As mileage distance for electric vehicles continues to improve, I expect my next car may be an electric vehicle too - self-driving would be even better. (I hate our freeways.)

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  3. Longview, a town about 12 miles from where I live as the crow flies, has lumber and pulp mills (and other things, I think) that regularly have similar plumes above them. The pulp mills really stink. We even catch a hint of it at home when it's really bad. The sunset photo is beautiful! The sun peaked out the last couple days here. I'm hungry for more!

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    1. We're getting lots of sun this week, Evan. It's a nice change!

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  4. Even if you know this happens every day, the impact of seeing it like you just did really drives it home. All the rampant changes and the proposed dismantling of our institutions in a matter of weeks are disconcerting, to say the least. I hope this administration will self-implode - soon! The sunset is glorious, though.

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    1. The activists warn that the current political struggle is a marathon rather than a sprint. Unfortunately, I think that's accurate.

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  5. Beautiful photos even if one of them is a little concerning.

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    1. We haven't had a good sunset (or sunrise) in a while - the gray skies have dominated. The view earlier this week was a nice catch.

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  6. I think that the effect on OUR environment is the scariest thing about your president.

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    1. The environmental concerns are significant and I can appreciate how those play elsewhere in the world we share, Christina. Responding to these at the national level is further complicated by the sheer number of issues with the actions of this administration.

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  7. Here in the UK there is a move to limit diesel engines. As I am deciding on a new vehicle at present it is difficult to decide what to do. From your vantage point you can certainly see the pollution. Quite frightening.

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    1. Los Angeles was at the top of the list of US cities with severe ozone pollution last year and cars are a big part of that, Ian. The lack of rain and heat last year also worsened matters. We can only hope that the weather shift will help some this year; however, it seems responsibility for fighting pollution will, of necessity, fall to the state if federal leaders aren't willing to step up.

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  8. Most of us do not want to go back to the 1950s, Mr. T.
    (This is going to be a long, hard road, I fear.)

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