Giulio captured this image on a foggy autumn day from a small church on a hilltop in the town of Airuno, Italy. Through the fog and with the help of the trees, you can just about see the winding course of the river Adda, illuminated by the first lights of sunrise. 

The streaks or beams of sunlight visible in this image are called crepuscular rays. They are made visible by the scattering of sunlight by particles suspended in the atmosphere, such as small water droplets, dust or smoke. Usually, crepuscular rays radiate through gaps in the clouds, but in this photo, the trees take the place of the clouds, casting shadows across the landscape, and the fog scatters the sunlight. Giulio had to be quick to take this photograph as within 20 minutes the scene had completely changed.  Photo by Giulio Montini

Sunlight streaming through fog wins Weather Photographer competition

The Royal Meteorological Society Weather Photographer Of The Year 2021 award winners in all of their glory.

The Royal Meteorological Society has announced the 2021 winners of its popular annual Weather Photographer of the Year competition.

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Giulio Montini’s spectacular photo Morning Fog, taken on an opaque autumn day from a small church on a hilltop in the town of Airuno, Italy, took top prize. The photograph was one of many entries that celebrated the beauty of weather.

Of a shortlist of 21 images chosen from over 8,900 photos taken by more than 3,300 photographers from 114 countries, Morning Fog was chosen as the overall winner by an esteemed international panel of judges.

The Royal Meteorological Society is the UK’s Professional and Learned Society for weather and climate. Working to strengthen the science and raise awareness of the importance of weather and climate, support meteorological professionals and inspire enthusiasts.

Overall Winner – Morning Fog

Giulio captured this image on a foggy autumn day from a small church on a hilltop in the town of Airuno, Italy. Through the fog and with the help of the trees, you can just about see the winding course of the river Adda, illuminated by the first lights of sunrise. The streaks or beams of sunlight visible in this image are called crepuscular rays. They are made visible by the scattering of sunlight by particles suspended in the atmosphere, such as small water droplets, dust or smoke. Usually, crepuscular rays radiate through gaps in the clouds, but in this photo, the trees take the place of the clouds, casting shadows across the landscape, and the fog scatters the sunlight. Giulio had to be quick to take this photograph as within 20 minutes the scene had completely changed. Photo by Giulio Montini
A foggy autumn day from a small church on a hilltop in the town of Airuno, Italy. Through the fog and with the help of the trees, you can just about see the winding course of the river Adda, illuminated by the first lights of sunrise. The beams of sunlight visible in this image are called crepuscular rays. They are made visible by the scattering of sunlight by particles suspended in the atmosphere, such as small water droplets, dust or smoke. Usually, crepuscular rays radiate through gaps in the clouds, but in this photo, the trees take the place of the clouds, casting shadows across the landscape, and the fog scatters the sunlight. Photo by Giulio Montini

Winner mobile phone category – Foggy morning

Photo by Christopher de Castro
Qasr Al Hosn, one of the oldest landmarks in Abu Dhabi, UAE, pictured in December 2020. Fog is the term used to describe the suspension of water droplets in the surface layer of the atmosphere, which reduces horizontal visibility to less than 1km. Around 95 per cent of the fog observed in the UAE is radiation fog and is most common in the winter. This type of fog forms over land when radiational cooling reduces the temperature of the near-surface air to below its dew point. The other 5 per cent is advection fog, forming when warm, moist, and stable air moves over a cooler surface. Photo by Christopher de Castro

Overall young winner – Kansas storm

Photo by Phoenix Blue
An approaching supercell photographed in Kansas, USA. A supercell is a thunderstorm with a deep rotating updraught, called a mesocyclone. They are powerful storms that can produce some of the most severe weather, including tornadoes, large hail, damaging wind gusts and torrential rain. Over the Great Plains of the central USA, supercell thunderstorms frequently develop during a well-defined storm season that runs approximately from April to June, peaking in May. Just below the blue-green colouration in the storm, you can see a shelf cloud. Also known as an ‘Arcus’ cloud, it can be easily identified by its menacing, wedge-shaped formation as a rain-cooled air flows out of a thunderstorm. Despite their appearance, they are relatively harmless. Photo by Phoenix Blue

1st Runner Up – Self portrait in a boat

Evgeny took this self-portrait using a Quadcopter at Lake Kok-Kol in Russia. To Evgeny, the uniqueness of the photo lies in his experience of the weather behind the lens – it changed so significantly in the time he was there that he felt the seasons shifted not only between days but over just a few hours. To capture this shot, he waited for the first snow to fall, which then covered the ice on the lake like a white blanket, leaving areas of open water as vivid streaks in the white. Have you ever questioned why lakes freeze from the top down? It is because the maximum density of water occurs at 4°C. Above this temperature, as the surface water cools, it becomes denser and sinks, being replaced by warmer water from below. This process continues until the whole lake is around 4°C. Further cooling of the surface water will then form a lighter (less dense) layer of colder water at the top, so the circulation stops. As a result, cooling becomes more concentrated in the upper layers creating ice as the surface reaches 0°C. Just a couple of hours after taking this photo, Evgeny said the whole lake was covered with white snow and winter came into its own. Photo by Evgeny Borisov
The photographer took this self-portrait using a Quadcopter at Lake Kok-Kol in Russia. As the first snow began to fall, it covered the ice on the lake like a white blanket, leaving areas of open water as vivid streaks in the white.
Photo by Evgeny Borisov

2nd Runner up – Lightning from an Isolated Storm over Cannes Bay

After driving over 300 miles, waiting for eight hours and a half-night sleeping in the car, Serge finally captured this forecasted thunderstorm on a full-moon night over the famous Bay of Cannes in the south of France.
An amazing thunderstorm pictured on a full Moon night over the famous Bay of Cannes in the south of France.
Lightning is a large electrical spark produced by electrons moving quickly from one place to another to neutralise two charged regions. This can be within the cloud or between the cloud and ground. It is the collision of small ice crystals with larger and denser graupel (soft hail) within a thunderstorm that transfers electrons from one to the other. The storm updraught then carries the positively charged ice crystals to the top of the cloud whilst the negatively charged graupel falls towards the bottom. Once the opposite charges build up enough, the insulating property of the air breaks down to form lightning. The air surrounding the lightning channel briefly reaches temperatures of up to 30,000°C, causing the air to rapidly expand, which we then hear as thunder. Photo by Serge Zaka

Runner up mobile phone category – Between showers

Photo by Susan Kyne Andrews
A beautiful double rainbow photographed at South Beach, Greystones, on the east coast of Ireland. Rainbows form due to the refraction (bending) and reflection of sunlight as it passes through raindrops. Clearly shown here, the colour banding in the secondary outer bow is in the opposite direction to the primary bow, which happens when the light is reflected twice off the back of the raindrops. Photo by Susan Kyne Andrews

Finalist – York flooding

©Andrew McCaren 31/10/2020 York UK A flock of Canada Goose swim the wrong way down a flooded road in York city centre after the River Ouse broke its banks following torrential rainfall in the UK.
A flock of Canada geese swim the wrong way down a flooded road in York city centre 31 October 2020 after the River Ouse broke its banks, following torrential rainfall in the UK. Photo by Andrew McCaren

Finalist – Beautiful Mammatus Clouds above Pag Town

Photo © Danijel Palčić
The development of a strong storm over mainland Croatia resulted in this epic vista, on the island of Pag. Mammatus clouds appear as a series of bulges or pouches hanging from the base of a cloud and are often said to resemble the udders of a cow. They are thought to form from sinking pockets of cold, moist air and typically develop on the underside of a storm cloud. However, they can also be found amongst other types of cloud, such as cirrocumulus, altostratus, altocumulus, and stratocumulus. Long-lasting mammatus are a sign of large drops and snow crystals in the sinking air. Photo by Danijel Palčić

Finalist – Fogbow

Photo by Melvin Nicholson
On a cold day in late November, this fogbow is seen rising over a snow-covered Rannoch Moor, Scotland, United Kingdom. Fogbows form in the same way as their cousin the rainbow, but they are almost colourless due to the tiny size of the droplets. This means that diffraction becomes a dominant effect, broadening the reflected beam of light and giving it a characteristic ghostly white or very faintly coloured appearance. They are most often seen over snow as well as in mountains and cold sea mists. Photo by Melvin Nicholson

Finalist – Mountain skyscape

Photo © Angela Lambourn
Lenticular clouds photographed in the late afternoon during midwinter, behind the coastal town of Nerja on the Costa del Sol, Spain. A lenticular cloud is a saucer-shaped cloud, which forms when stable air is forced to rise over a hill or mountain. This disturbance in the horizontal airflow can develop waves in the air downstream, similar to the ripples you see as water flows over a rock. These waves generally stay in the same place as the wind blows through them, hence their name ‘standing waves’. If the air is sufficiently moist, a lenticular cloud can form in the crest of a wave. Photo by Angela Lambourn

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Finalist – Floating Red

Photo © Jiming Zhang
At an altitude of 4,800 metres, Sapu Mountain, Tibet, is seen as the clouds clear during a sunset. Even though sunlight or visible light may appear white, it is actually made up of a spectrum of colours from red to violet, all of which have a slightly different wavelength. As light travels through our atmosphere, it is scattered by air molecules. This happens more to the shorter wavelengths (blue and violet), which is why we see the sky as blue. When the Sun is lower in the sky during sunrise and sunset, the light travels a longer path through our atmosphere. This causes more of the blue portion of the Sun’s rays to scatter away from our eyes, leaving relatively more of the longer wavelengths (yellow, orange and red) for us to see. Photo by Jiming Zhang

Finalist – Joy of childhood

Photo by Muhammad Amdad Hossain
Children play in the water during the rainy season in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Chittagong has a tropical monsoon climate, with monthly mean temperatures above 19°C in every month of the year. The dry season runs from November to March, the pre-monsoon season from April to May, and the wet season from June to October. Each year, around 2,777 mm of precipitation falls here. With climate change, rainfall variability over the Asian-Australian monsoon region is projected to increase on daily to decadal timescales, and in South and East Asia, monsoon rainfall over land is also predicted to increase. Combined with the fact that sea level is projected to rise by 50 cm by 2050, and two-thirds of Bangladesh is less than five metres above sea level, it’s clear how vulnerable the country is to climate change. Photo by Muhammad Amdad Hossain

Finalist – Rainbow clouds in Tibet

Photo by Gesang Jimei
A truly remarkable cloud in the sky over the Sanding Temple in the south of the mountains of Tibet. According to the photographer, the beautiful colours lasted for more than 20 minutes: This optical phenomenon is officially called a circumhorizontal arc, which extends parallel to the horizon. To see a circumhorizontal arc the Sun needs to be more than 58° high in the sky, and cirrus clouds must be present. The hexagonal, plate-shaped ice crystals inside the cirrus clouds also need to be aligned horizontally, so that the light entering through the vertical side of the crystals refracts (bends) and exits through the horizontal bottom. This disperses the light into the seven colours of the spectrum, similar to what we see in a rainbow. In countries north and south of 56°, circumhorizontal arcs can never be seen because the Sun is always lower than 58°. Photo by Gesang Jimei

Finalist – Ring of fire

Photo © Sachin Jagtap
A ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse pictured on 10 June 2021, on the New Jersey shoreline, USA. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, casting a full or partial shadow. There are three types of solar eclipse: total, partial, and annular (otherwise known as a ‘ring of fire’ eclipse). This occurs when the Moon is at its furthest point from Earth, on its elliptical orbit, and passes between the Sun and Earth. As a result of the distance from our planet, the Moon appears smaller than the Sun and so a bright ring of sunlight surrounds the Moon’s silhouette. Photo by Sachin Jagtap