Head Above the Clouds
This past weekend, you could've been above the clouds—but still be earthbound—at Grand Canyon National Park (pictured on November 29), thanks to a unique weather phenomenon called a temperature inversion.
The weather pattern occurs when cold air is sandwiched between the Earth's surface and the warmer air above.
In the Grand Canyon, the inversion created a fleecy blanket of fog over the park following heavy precipitation. (Also see "Viral Video: Why Are 'Roll Clouds' So Rare?")
"We had a widespread rainstorm a few days before—very, very wet snow," said Darren McCollum, lead forecaster at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Flagstaff, Arizona. "Every place was pretty wet. Within a day, it all melted. The ground was super wet."
Then a high-pressure front carrying dry, warm air moved in, combining with the wet ground and balmy valley temperatures to create a temperature inversion.