útsynningur // bursts of the Southwester

Eins og ég nefndi í síðsta pisli þá hefur lægðagangurinn í haust og vetur fært okkur ríflegan skerf af útsynningi. Það er bara skemmtilegt því birtubrigðin eru oft sérlega áhugaverð þegar élja- eða slyddubakkinn er nýfarinn yfir og aftur sést í bláan himinn.

Án þess að vita það finnst mér líklegt að gamla skrýtlan um að útlendingar upplifi allar tegundir veðurs á einum íslenskum formiðdegi vísi í útsynninginn – það er allavega einkenni hans að skjótt skipist veður í lofti!

Í humátt 23x37 2015

Í humátt á eftir élinu  akvarella  23×37  2015

//  As I mentioned in before there has been an abundance of of low-pressure areas coming over the North-Atlantic from autumn onwards. Whenever an area crosses our island we have what is called “útsynningur” – unstable south-westerly winds with accompanying (during winter) bursts of hail or sleet. “Útsynningur” therefore denotes both a wind direction and a specific type of weather observed in the south of the country.

In direct translation “útsynningur” would yield something like “the out-southerly”. The meaning becomes transparent once you add a pinch of historical knowledge, as many Icelandic terms for wind directions can be traced all the way back to the Vikings of West-Norway. In their mind the direction “out” was to sail away from the shore, i.e. go west. Hence out-south meant south-west. The opposite direction was “land” because that would take them inland: “landsynningur” therefore being land-south = south-east.

“Útsynningur” is a shifty type of weather but visually interesting for example when the clear sky can be seen again after an intense shower of rain or sleet. In a matter of minutes you go from gale force winds with to the sun shining in relative calm. Calls to mind an old anecdote about tourists experiencing every type of weather in a single Icelandic afternoon. I suspect that the “útsynningur” was there at work.

In the wake of the cloudburst  aquarelle  23×37  2015

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