Unusual images seen on New Zealand rain radar overnight on Thursday have scientists disagreeing.
Saturday, 23rd February 2013
Met Service rain radar detected what could have been two large areas of rain, one near Auckland, the other moving across the Bay of Plenty region, overnight on Thursday 21st February. However, it wasn’t raining at the time.
Meteorologist Peter Kreft suggests the large masses may have been swarms of insects, as such effects have been observed in the past. In an interesting article on the MetService website, he presents his thoughts and shows a time lapse radar image of the masses.
Radio New Zealand National news quotes entomologist Peter Johns as saying the images could be swarms of insects. However, the size of the images appearing on the radar suggests swarms of billions of insects and is beyond comprehension.
Weather enthusiasts on the NZ Weather Forum think it was an inversion layer (a layer of warmer stable air) that the radar detected. The debate continues.
One thing that caught my eye is what appears to be a significant fireball (bright meteor) train briefly appearing near Tolaga Bay just before 6 a.m. on Friday morning (1900 U.T.) on the rain radar animation. Whether this is actually the train of ionised particles left behind by the passage of a large meteor is hard to determine. The animation runs rather fast and I am not certain whether the type of radar used to detect rain would detect these sorts of particles. A similar fireball trail was seen on the radar at about 7 o’clock this morning.