logoMarys Peak Observatory Cloud Atlas

The Marys Peak Observatory webcam was set up to provide a visualization of the beauty of natural fluid flows. Clouds trace these flows, providing an educational glimpse into fluid motions in our atmosphere. Time-lapse movies depicting different types of flows can be linked to this website. Ongoing research in the College of Oceanic & Atmospheric Sciences examines the physics of flows like these in both the atmosphere and the ocean.

Ground Fog and Precipitation

Fog is most common during the fall and the winter months. While often burning off with the warmth of the sun during the late morning hours, it can sometimes linger all day during the colder, cloudier winter months. It often forms around dusk, or shortly there after. Fog is simply a variation of stratus at ground level. At times, skies can be clear with the exception of the ground fog, meaning the weather on top of Marys Peak is quite pleasant compared to the valley. However, due to the thick fog, it is difficult to gauge what the weather at Marys Peak is like during these times. For more information on general ground fog, click here.

Most of the precipitation in Corvallis falls as rain with infrequent snowstorms in a typical winter. Marys Peak, due to its high elevation, sees much more snowfall. At times, the snow level can easily be picked out at varying heights along the mountainside. A snow pack remains on the peak for a majority of the winter months. During the summer time, on very rare occasions, hail has been observed falling during strong thunderstorms. Precipitation usually falls from a type of stratus called nimbostratus, or from cumulonimbus that formed from convective cumulus in the right conditions.

Our Mission

This webcam was funded by the National Science Foundation, with the original camera being installed by the Ocean Mixing Group on the roof of Burt Hall at Oregon State University on April 28th, 2010. The webcam is a part of experimental investigations into the physics of form drag in geophysical flows. The Biomicrometrology Group maintains the site as part of ongoing studies to understand and quantify interactions between the air, vegetation, and the land surface. The images obtained here are intended to complement studies of controlled flows over topographic obstacles in ocean and atmosphere. On August 4th, 2014, the Biomicrometeorology group at Oregon State University installed a new camera with near-infrared sensitivity to increase the window of viewability.

A collaborative, NSF-funded project by
C. Thomas, S. deSzoeke, L. Mahrt & E. Skyllingstad / OSU Atmospheric Sciences
J. Moum & J. Nash / OSU Ocean Mixing Group

Cloud Atlas compiled by REU student M. Spagnolo