Have you ever seen a halo around the sun?  Some people think that halo can predict the weather.

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Weather Lore

Whether you realize it or not, we've all heard different types of weather lore. Weather lore dates back hundreds of years, and predates the technology that we now use to predict the weather.

Mid adult woman presenting the weather forecast on tv
George Doyle
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Here is how AllThingsNature.org explains weather lore:

Weather lore began as a means of predicting weather long before advanced technological methods were available. People often relied on nature for upcoming weather events.

I remember when I was younger my dad taught me some old weather lore, he said that if you see leaves on a tree flip over to where you can see their undersides that meant that rain would soon be coming.  This one is a fairly common piece of weather lore as is the phrase "red sky at night sailors delight, red sky in the morning, a sailor's warning."

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash
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Another really common piece of weather lore is the phrase:

a ring around the sun or moon, rain or snow is coming soon.

I remember hearing this one as a kid too! It turns out there is a kernel of truth in this specific piece of weather lore.

What is the halo around the sun?

Photo by Grooveland Designs on Unsplash
Photo by Grooveland Designs on Unsplash
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Have you ever looked up at the sun and noticed a halo around it?  Well according to Farmer's Almanac a sun halo is caused by the light passing through ice particles in clouds.

A Sun halo is caused by the refraction, reflection, and dispersion of light through ice particles suspended within thin, wispy, high altitude cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. As light passes through these hexagon-shaped ice crystals, it is bent at a 22° angle, creating a circular halo around the Sun.

Photo by Miha Rekar on Unsplash
Photo by Miha Rekar on Unsplash
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From our perspective on earth, this causes a halo effect around the sun.   Thus the weather lore is "a ring around the sun or moon, rain or snow is coming soon." It turns out this piece of weather lore isn't too far off.

Photo by Yann Allegre on Unsplash
Photo by Yann Allegre on Unsplash
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Since the sun halo is usually caused within cirrus and cirrostratus clouds, it is true that those types of clouds are typically seen before rain and storm systems.  You can read more about the truth behind this weather lore from Farmer's Almanac, here.

 

KEEP READING: Get answers to 51 of the most frequently asked weather questions...

 

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