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Blood-Red Sky and Other Reactions of Nature to the War in Ukraine

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Photo: Reactions of Nature to the War in Ukraine, Source: Collage The Gaze \ by Leonid Lukashenko
Photo: Reactions of Nature to the War in Ukraine, Source: Collage The Gaze \ by Leonid Lukashenko

The genocide of the Ukrainian people and the ecocide of Ukrainian flora and fauna are actions by Russian forces that have elicited powerful resistance not only from the Ukrainian Armed Forces, supported by Western partners, but also from nature itself. Over more than two years of war in Ukraine, a series of atmospheric anomalies have occurred, which, of course, can be attributed to the effects of global warming, but also to the war.

Northern lights, winter thunderstorms, light pillars, wild bolides, and cloud ghosts are just a partial list of incredible phenomena that have started occurring in the skies over Ukraine almost every month since Russian dictator Vladimir Putin sent his hordes of vile occupiers there. It's hard to say what exactly nature wants to communicate with its antics and oddities, but one thing is clear: it simply cannot remain indifferent and pretend not to notice Russia's atrocities.

Blood-Red Sky


Source: wirestock

On the evening of November 5, 2023, the sky over Ukraine turned pink, and closer to the Russian border—for example, in the city of Lozova near Kharkiv—it turned blood-red. This optical phenomenon turned out to be the northern lights, which had never been observed on either side of the Dnipro River before the war, but since its onset have become a frequent visitor. Last year, the northern lights, which might not surprise anyone in Norway or Sweden, amazed Ukrainians, unaccustomed to such sights, at least three times. The most recent sighting was just a few weeks ago on May 2. Numerous auroras in the Ukrainian sky are caused by powerful magnetic storms that have been recorded in large numbers on the Sun's surface recently.

Solar Fury

When the Sun looks down on the numerous atrocities committed by Russian soldiers in Ukraine, it seems to almost burst with pure rage. For instance, on May 10 this year, the strongest magnetic storm in the last 20 years began, which will continue in waves for several weeks. The magnetic flares are so strong that researchers have detected their effects even on the ocean floor. Unfortunately, all these solar signals and last warnings likely do not reach the deep nuclear bunker where the Kremlin dictator has been hiding practically since the beginning of the war.

Brocken Spectre

Not only does the spectre of the Soviet Union, which Putin dreams of reviving, loom over Ukraine, but also the "Brocken Spectre" (named after the German mountain peak Brockengespenst, where tourists most often encounter it). This is an atmospheric optical phenomenon where a person walking in the mountains suddenly sees their shadow on the clouds or in the fog. This shadow can reach enormous sizes, often surrounded by colourful rings like a rainbow, and can sometimes startle to the point of fear, moving unexpectedly independently of the person. This is related to the movement and density fluctuations of large cloud layers. In March 2023, one such "Brocken spectre" was recorded by travellers in the Ukrainian Carpathians.

Saharan Dust


Source: web sreenshot

Russian forces have long been planning to cause some catastrophe in Ukraine (for example, at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant they have occupied) with the effect of a dirty nuclear bomb. As if warning them against such games, nature in April this year brought dust from the distant Sahara Desert to Ukraine in two waves. Finally, the sand mixed with precipitation, forming what is known as "dirty rain." After a few days of spitting out African dust and feeling its grit on their teeth, only a foolish Russian occupier could fail to think about the terrible disaster that would ensue if such dust became radioactive.

Light Pillars

While black smoke columns from burnt oil refineries rise over Russian territory, a fundamentally different type of column—light pillars—have begun to be regularly observed in Ukraine. For example, in the spring of 2023 and this January, residents of Kyiv witnessed their beauty. As a type of halo, light pillars are essentially vertical bands of light above the ground, formed by the refraction of city lights and their reflection in ice crystals. These crystals appear in the atmosphere when humidity is close to 100% and there is a sudden drop in temperature below zero degrees. Instead of the usual dew, tiny hexagonal flat ice crystals form, hanging in the air, playing with the light rays and creating the optical illusion of a majestic light pillar.

Snowstorm

A rainstorm is a common and widespread phenomenon, but a snowstorm or snow thunderstorm is something abnormal, at least for Ukraine. Local meteorologists had never recorded thunderstorms starting earlier than March, but since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war, this has happened twice. First, as if a warning, a month before the invasion—in January 2022. And again, exactly a year later. Scientists say that snow thunderstorms occur about 5-6 times a year worldwide, so Ukraine can now develop hunting for this weather phenomenon as a separate tourism niche. Interestingly, a snow thunderstorm starts when a layer of cold air is pressed to the ground, and moist, warm air moves over it. A real storm begins with rapid vertical movements, chaotic mixing, and turbulence, resulting in powerful snowfall with loud lightning instead of rain.

High-Energy Acoustic Event

When something exploded in the sky over Kyiv on the evening of April 19, 2023, citizens were flooded with conflicting reports. The Office of the President reported that it was the air defence system responding to a Russian missile. Meanwhile, the city council explained the mysterious explosion as the fall of a NASA satellite from orbit, and the State Space Agency of Ukraine interpreted the phenomenon as an unknown "high-energy acoustic event." Eventually, everyone agreed that the bright greenish flash in the sky was caused by a cosmic bolide, specifically a large meteorite (200-300 kg) from the Lyrid meteor shower, which leaves the tail of the Thatcher comet through which the Earth passes every April.

Green Flash


Source: telegram Baza

Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022—at the same time, residents of Odesa witnessed an optical phenomenon known as the "green flash." This is no mere coincidence. Such a green light flash at the moment when the sun sets below the horizon is extremely rare. The atmosphere must be crystal clear, the horizon flat, and the sky cloudless and windless. Moreover, the green flash lasts only a few seconds. Therefore, sailors who managed to see it even once in their lives were said to be lucky—a symbol of hope and good fortune sent by fate. This is exactly what happened with the residents of Odesa, whose city Putin planned to capture in a few days or weeks, yet it still remains, after over two years of constant attacks, a symbol of unwavering Ukrainian resistance.

Da Vinci Glow

Last May, Ukrainians also witnessed an event that occurs about once every 10 years—the Da Vinci Glow, named after the artist Leonardo da Vinci, who first described it in the 16th century. This occurs when 5% of the Moon is brightly illuminated by the Sun, but the remaining 95% remains visible due to light reflected from the Earth's surface. Da Vinci himself believed that the moderate light on the Moon was shielded by the oceans, but NASA researchers think that a special interaction between clouds and sea ice plays a key role in this process.

Temperature Record

1968 was the year when the USSR, leading the Warsaw Pact forces, criminally invaded Czechoslovakia on its tanks, where a liberal revolution known as the "Prague Spring" was taking place. After the shameful intervention, even the last fans of the "Soviet Union" in Europe understood what it really was: an empire of evil. It was also a year of unprecedented heat, when in March the temperature in Ukraine was record-breaking—ranging from +23 to +26 degrees. And here's what's interesting: 56 years later, the Russian Federation, as the successor of the infamous foreign policy of the USSR, is again storming another country that wants to be part of Europe. Now it is not Czechoslovakia, but Ukraine, but the weather is the same—in March 2024, the anomalous temperature record of 1968 symbolically repeated itself.

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