Canary Island Rime Event

May 27, 2010

Jurgen Rendtel; Jurgen's Website
Summary Author: Jurgen Rendtel

The photo above shows Retama del Teide (Spartocytisus supranubius), a white-flowered species of broom that blooms in May and June on the Canary Islands of Spain above elevations of about 6,500 – 8,200 (1,981-2,500 m). On occasion, cold and wet conditions can occur well into spring at the astronomical observatories where I work (Observatorio del Teide), situated at 7,875 ft (2,400 m). On the morning of May 14, 2010, the white coloration in the landscape was due to a remarkable rime ice event rather than to Retama blooms. Plants were coated with a layer of ice just over an one inch (3 cm) thick that resulted from cold temperatures (28 F or -2 C) strong winds and clouds blanketing the observatory. The direction of the winds can be guessed quite confidently by looking at the inset.