Weather photo contest

Uppsala has one of the world’s longest series of weather observations and in 2022, Uppsala University has hosted different events celebrating 300 years of weather measurements in Uppsala, the so called Celsius jubilee. At the Department of Earth Sciences we have organised a weather photo contest and the winning photos are now gathered in a calendar that you can buy in the university's webbshop or in Ekonomikum, BMC, The University Library and Ångström. Scan the qr-code below to reach the web shop.  

Weather photo contest. rules

Take part in our weather photo contest between November 2021-October 2022. You can submit up to ten images, either by sending your photo to or by posting to Instagram and using the hashtag #Celsius300. We will pick one winner each month and the jury consists of metorologists at the Department of Earth Sciences at Uppsala University.

The best weather photos will be published on the Department of Earth Sciences website with the photographer’s name and a description of the weather phenomena visible in the photo, written by the meteorologists at the department. The winning images will be published in a calendar by Uppsala University. The winners will also receive an Uppsala University hoodie, value SEK 450.


  • The contest is open for everyone between 1 November 2021 to 31 October 2022.
  • The photo must be taken by you.
  • You can submit up to 10 photos.
  • Write where the picture was taken and approximate date and time.
  • Remember to write your name and where we can contact you.
  • If you post and tag on Instagram your Instagram account must be open, not private. 

By using the hashtag #Celsius300 you give your approval for us to publish the pictures in our internal and external channels. If you photograph people you must have their consent.  

Winner, November 2021: Felicia Eriksson

Jormvattnet, Jämtland, by Felicia Eriksson
The night sky in August can be incredibly beautiful! High up in the atmosphere – way higher than where the regular clouds are located – we find the noctilucent clouds. And it's the fact that they are at this high altitude that makes it possible for us to see the clouds in twilight – when the sun has set for us at the surface it is still shining on these clouds, approximately 80 km up. Just like the stars, the noctilucent clouds are above us also during the day, but it's only in nighttime that the light that they reflect is not dazzled by the direct sun light. The clouds are formed by the deposition of tiny ice crystals on the dust from meteorites; the ice crystals make the cloud shimmering in blue and white. Most often, the clouds are in a striped pattern, just like in this beautiful photo from Jormvattnet in Jämtland (Sweden), taken August 10th at 23.38.

 Winner, December 2021: Magdalena Kuchler

Stratocumulus clouds can be extremely dull or really, really wonderful. This December morning it was hard to stop gazing at the clouds on the way to work; the sky was on fire! Have you ever thought about why the sky is blue during day but looks red in the morning and evening? As you may know, sunbeams contain all colors, but the gases in the atmosphere (mainly nitrogen and oxygen) scatter blue light better than red light. When the sun is high, there is a relatively small amount of air that the sunlight must pass through before it reaches your eye and the sky looks blue. When the sun is low, however, the sun's rays must travel a much longer distance through the air before they reach you.
As blue wavelengths are scattered more efficiently than red ones, we see reddish colors when light has to travel a longer path through the atmosphere; hence the yellow, orange, pink, and red shades of color we see at dawn and dusk.
To see a really cool sky as in this photo, it is also required to be a lot of water vapor or particles in the air as they also help to scatter the sunlight.

Winner, January 2022: Fredrik Gustafsson

a thunderstorm rolling in
We are doomed! Or are we? When the sky looks like this you have two options: either you seek shelter as fast as possible or you take some photos and enjoy the spectacle! On this day, the atmosphere was tumultuous, with thunderstorms passing on regular intervals. In the evening, this cloud passed over Gamla Uppsala; the turbulence and winds within and around the cloud created shelves that could clearly be seen in the setting sun. Amongst meteorologists this cloud is called cumulonimbus arcus praecipitatio, or simply just shelf cloud. Regardless how ominous you think it looks, you have to agree that this steel-gray sky is something special!

Winner, February 2022: Catherine Ripley 

Sweden in the north, covered in snow
The sound of silence. When nature is covered by a soft layer of snow, all sounds are dampened. Snow covering the vegetation in this way is called crown snow-load. Did you know that the weight of the snow on one spruce in Northern Scandinavia can be up to 4 000 kilograms? That’s a lot of weight for the entire forest – you do the calculation!

Winner March 2022: Marcus Letalick

Calm sea with clouds in the sky
There is a hurricane blowing over lake Roxen – and at the same time the water surface is almost perfectly flat – how can that be? To answer the question, we look upwards. The clouds are the meteorologist's best friends because they reveal what is happening in different parts of the atmosphere. The elongated feather-like cirrus clouds are high up in the atmosphere; at an altitude of about 10 km. This is the altitude at which air-planes fly and where we also find the jet stream, the band of strong winds that is wrapped around the Earth. Up here, hurricane winds are part of everyday life. The grey-white cumulus clouds are much closer to the ground – at a height of only one or a couple of kilometres – and here the winds are more modest. At the surface there is almost no wind at all; it is so calm that only the tiniest ripples can be seen on the water surface.

Winner, April 2022: Sandro Lohajner

Sun halo
Some weather phenomena are very unusual. Others are actually quite common, although many people think they are unusual. A halo is an example of such a phenomenon that occurs quite often, but you may never have noticed. A large ring around the sun — or halo — can be seen when the sky is covered with high altitude cirrostratus clouds. The ice crystals in the cloud refract the sun beams. If the crystals are symmetrically arranged, various optical phenomena can occur: halos, sun dogs, a circumzenithal arc and light pillars. Often the halo means that a change in the weather is to be expected; a warm front is approaching and tomorrow will be a rainy day.

Winner, May 2022: Axel Englund

House on a rock in the archipelago
Looking for a sunny Swedish summer? The best advice from the meteorologist is to go to the coast. The reason for this is due to a phenomenon known as the “sea breeze”. In the morning, the sun's rays begin to heat the air near the ground.  Since warm air has lower density than cold air, it rises. The air parcel cools as it rises; when it has reached a certain height, condensation occurs. As a result, cumulus clouds form, just like the ones we see in the photo. In order to replace the rising air over the land surface, a wind flow – a breeze – from sea to land is initiated. The breeze brings somewhat cooler marine air – as heating over the sea is slower – that flows inland several kilometres before it can warm enough to rise and form clouds. Therefore, at the immediate coast, the sky is often free from clouds, all thanks to the sea breeze.

Winner, June 2022: Birgitta Tomkinson

Two parallel rainbows over a summer meadow
Go get your shovels, because we're going on a treasure hunt! But the question is: at the end of which of the rainbows should we look? Rainbows, as you may know, occur when sunlight is refracted and reflected in raindrops. The light from the sun is electromagnetic radiation that consists of a lot of different wavelengths, which we see as different colors. The different wavelengths are refracted to a different extent in the raindrops and make the colors appear in the following order in the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. If the light is reflected twice in the raindrops, an outer rainbow also occurs. The outer rainbow has the reverse order of the colors and is not as bright as the inner rainbow. By the way, did you know that the rainbow is not actually an arc but a full circle? But you need to be really high up, for example on top of a mountain, to be able to see a "rain circle".

Winner, July 2022: Jan Henriksson

steam fog that looks like smoke on the water
Smoke on the water. The phenomenon that we see in the picture is called steam fog and usually occurs in late summer or autumn. At this time of year, the water has finally warmed up to decent bathing temperatures, but it's starting to get colder in the air. Water vapor rises from the surface but then quickly condenses into droplets and forms the dancing patches of mist. If you think about it, it's actually the same process as when water vapor rises from a pan of boiling water – only the lake isn't as hot, of course!

Winner, August 2022: Artjom Jefimov

Aurora. The Northern Lights. Polar Lights. Is it the most fascinating light phenomenon we have on this planet? For a long time, it was believed that the aurora was a reflection in the sky of massive shoals of fish or from the light of torches used by the Sámi far up in the North, but nowadays we know better. The aurora occurs when charged particles from the sun crash into atoms and molecules in the upper part of our atmosphere: if oxygen is excited, the light will be yellow, green or red, while for nitrogen, the light turns violet. The charged particles are affected by the magnetic field of the Earth, which explains why the chances of seeing the aurora increase the further north you go in Sweden. As long as the sky is free from clouds, of course.

Winner, September 2022: Natalie Baker

Sunrise – a very early morning on Mount Agung, Indonesia. Around 3,000 meters above sea level, your perspective changes. A soft cover of stratocumulus clouds has embedded the plateau around the mountain, forming its own landscape. If we take a closer look at the clouds, we start noticing the details. In some places the cloud tops rise a little higher; here the convection has started and the clouds are pushing upwards. In other places you can see how the clouds line up and with the help of the wind; structures and patterns are created. In a few hours it will be time to hike down the mountain and into the cloud cover. Although the sky will look grey and dreary from down there, it's nice to remember that high up – above the clouds – the sky is always blue.

Winner, October 2022: Fabien Burki

Bicycle in the November night
Some days you just wonder if the Sun overslept and is late for work. No snow on the ground to light things up – just drizzle and a palette of grey tones. By the way, do you know the difference between rain and drizzle? In short, three things distinguish them: the size of the drops, how fast they fall and how much precipitation accumulates on the ground. The size of raindrops range between 0.5 and 5 mm and fall at a speed of 2 – 9 meters per second, but the drops in a drizzle are smaller – only a few tenths of a millimeter – and descend rather gently; around 0.5 – 1 meter per second. Drizzle also does not produce as much accumulated precipitation as rain. But regardless, you can still be soaked. Just keep on fighting and push through.

Winner November 2022: Erik Amkoff

Bird flying though the snow
And we are off to a fresh start! Will January be characterised by a cold snap or by mild weather? To find out, we look out over the Atlantic Ocean; more specifically towards Iceland and the Azores. The difference in air pressure between these two places – something usually referred to as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) – is decisive for our winter weather. If there is a large difference in air pressure between these places, the cyclones will follow their usual paths across the Atlantic and bring us wet and mild weather. If there is only a small difference in air pressure, the cyclones will change direction and freezing cold air from the northeast will rapidly wash over us. If that’s the case, you’d better button up – because the cold spell could last for weeks!


​Photographer: Felix Fridh.
​Photographer: Anders Heder.
Waves and clouds
​Photographer: Lennart Eriksson.
Grey day
​Photographer: Anna Neubeck. 
Umbrellas in rain
​Photographer: Elisabeth Sjöqvist. 
Rainy day in summer
Photographer: Sofie Eriksson.
Dust and mountains
Photographer: Ramona Schneider.
Bubbly clouds
Photographer:Katharina Dahlmann.
Sunshine through leaves
Photographer: Malgorzata Blicharska. 
Photographer: Ann-Charlotte Hellzén-Wallin.

Last modified: 2023-01-23