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Ice crystals, liquidambar, sycamores

Look for the ring around the sun

Most liquidambars in our area regain their light green foliage by late February.
Most liquidambars in our area regain their light green foliage by late February.

Atmospheric Ice-Crystal Effects are often observed, starting about this time of year, because of the frequent appearance of high clouds made of tiny bits of ice. The most familiar of these optical effects is the 22 ̊-radius halo, or ring, around the sun or the moon. Less often seen is a “corona” (a colored disk around the sun or moon — not the same as the solar corona seen during total eclipse), “sun- dogs” (colored arcs left and right of the sun), the sun pillar (a vertical column of light above the rising or setting sun), and a host of other rare and inconspicuous optical phenomena. All of the optical effects mentioned are a consequence of sunlight or moonlight refracting through or reflecting from the tiny facets of ice crystals in cirrus and other types of high clouds.

Liquidambar Trees, or sweet gums, the deciduous trees gracing front yards, parks, and campuses throughout the San Diego area, have been putting on an exceptionally colorful show. The leaves of some varieties turn to purple or red; the leaves of other varieties fade to golden yellow. Still other varieties hold on to their green leaves until sometime in December. Most liquidambars in our area regain their light green foliage by late February.

Sycamores, found in San Diego’s coastal and foothill canyons as well as in suburban and park landscaping, stand at their autumnal best this time of year. Stroll beneath their crispy, rustling canopies and catch the sunbeams scattering among their mottled trunks and yellow-brown leaves. Some of San Diego’s biggest native sycamores reside in López Canyon, a part of Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve near Sorrento Valley. Hundreds of sycamores can be also be seen in Marian Bear Park (San Clemente Canyon) along Freeway 52 between University City and Clairemont.

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Most liquidambars in our area regain their light green foliage by late February.
Most liquidambars in our area regain their light green foliage by late February.

Atmospheric Ice-Crystal Effects are often observed, starting about this time of year, because of the frequent appearance of high clouds made of tiny bits of ice. The most familiar of these optical effects is the 22 ̊-radius halo, or ring, around the sun or the moon. Less often seen is a “corona” (a colored disk around the sun or moon — not the same as the solar corona seen during total eclipse), “sun- dogs” (colored arcs left and right of the sun), the sun pillar (a vertical column of light above the rising or setting sun), and a host of other rare and inconspicuous optical phenomena. All of the optical effects mentioned are a consequence of sunlight or moonlight refracting through or reflecting from the tiny facets of ice crystals in cirrus and other types of high clouds.

Liquidambar Trees, or sweet gums, the deciduous trees gracing front yards, parks, and campuses throughout the San Diego area, have been putting on an exceptionally colorful show. The leaves of some varieties turn to purple or red; the leaves of other varieties fade to golden yellow. Still other varieties hold on to their green leaves until sometime in December. Most liquidambars in our area regain their light green foliage by late February.

Sycamores, found in San Diego’s coastal and foothill canyons as well as in suburban and park landscaping, stand at their autumnal best this time of year. Stroll beneath their crispy, rustling canopies and catch the sunbeams scattering among their mottled trunks and yellow-brown leaves. Some of San Diego’s biggest native sycamores reside in López Canyon, a part of Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve near Sorrento Valley. Hundreds of sycamores can be also be seen in Marian Bear Park (San Clemente Canyon) along Freeway 52 between University City and Clairemont.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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