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May 24, 2013

Halo in the sky

While the fortunes of two of Guatemala’s former presidents have plunged into darkness, life has been brighter for us here in neighboring Belize. If you are someone who had your head in the clouds or were looking into the skies around midday today, you would have noticed what appeared to be a ring around the sun. The bright colored phenomenon which is referred to as a halo occurs when sun hits ice crystals in the clouds of the stratosphere. Chief Met Officer, Dennis Gonguez, told News Five that today’s incident was very much more distinct, but the phenomenon occurs rather frequently. 

 

Dennis Gonguez, Chief Met Officer

“That phenomenon is known as a halo. It is caused by the scattering, the reflection and the refraction of sunlight on the ice crystals in the clouds. Those clouds were located about four to five miles up in the atmosphere and at that level they are composed completely of ice crystals. And when the sunlight hits the ice crystals, it’s scattered and you get that effect.”

 

Duane Moody

“So it’s kinda like a rainbow?”

 

Dennis Gonguez

Dennis Gonguez

“It forms pretty much how a rainbow falls. In the case of a rainbow it forms with water molecules. In the halo, it is the ice crystals in the clouds.”

 

Duane Moody

“What made this happen? Why today?”

 

Dennis Gonguez

“It happens quite frequently however it was obvious today because the low cloud coverage allowed us to see the phenomenon unfolding. For us in meteorology, it is no big deal. When we see it, it helps us to identify what type of cloud is out there. So it is an optical phenomenon that appears quite regularly.”

 

Duane Moody

“Only on cloudy days right?”

 

Dennis Gonguez

“When we have that type of clouds, the serious stratosphere clouds; they are located about four or five miles up in the atmosphere and at that level they are totally made up of ice crystals.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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