Most Popular   >>>    The Nautical Mile     Greenport     Greenport Hotels     Fire Island     Long Island Wine Tasting

The Long Island Blog

September 1, 2008

Long Island’s Temperature Inversions

Filed under: Sand, Sea & Sky by Bill @ 2:41 am

Even though it’s Labor Day I’m not going to say that summer is over. However, when I start seeing temperature inversions on the Great South Bay I know shorter days and cooler weather are on the way.

Check out this picture of the Ocean Beach water tower on Fire Island. See how the entire island seems to be floating above the bay?

This illusion is caused by something called a temperature inversion. It sounds technical, but the concept is simple: The air is much colder near the bay than above it.

Normally the opposite is true and everything looks fine, but when cold air settles in overnight and then warm air comes in to replace it, a thin layer of cold air is trapped just above the water’s surface. That cold air bends light in such a way as to make things look higher or taller than they really are.

So now you know…

Oh, and one more thing. As far as I’m concerned, here on Long Island the De facto end of summer should be Columbus day not Labor Day.


  1. Very interesting! I never knew that. I just called it a mirage 🙂

    Comment by Bettye — September 1, 2008 @ 9:02 am

  2. Mirage is good enough. The scientist in me is always wondering why things are the way they are, so one day I looked it up and learned all about temperature inversions and how they bend light.

    Comment by Bill — September 2, 2008 @ 6:00 am

  3. […] while back I posted about temperature inversions, and sun pillars and this morning I saw a naturally occurring low pass filter on the water’s […]

    Pingback by The Long Island Blog from — February 14, 2010 @ 6:09 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Blog Home

Loving Long Island Home