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Mark Seltzer (Young)

Electric Sky UK
Mark Seltzer BSc FRMetS RMet

What's on here?
Personal weather photography, videography and write-ups, primarily thunderstorms, together with meteorological explanations to share knowledge and theories in hope I can inspire and help those who are interested in these things understand the what and why. This website serves as the primary place to find all my stuff, including links to my Youtube Channel, Facebook page and Twitter.

Who am I?
I am a registered time-served Meteorologist. Since becoming incredibly inspired by thunderstorms aged 10 following a high school English project, I endevoured to learn the science and experience the real-life by observing through the lens of a camera, where most of my knowledge has been fortified (you can only learn so much through a text book). Since then, I followed the career path of Meteorology and remain in that profession today.

I am based in the UK, where the meteorology is often somewhat muted and thunderstorm activity is rather infrequent due to our often dynamic and cool maritime weather influence, especially in the west where I live. This is the reason a bit of thunder is usually an exciting event for us Brits; "Newsflash! A Thunderstorm!". But although our weather is unlikely to impress you continental and hotter climate dwellers, over the nearly 3 decades I have observed and chased, I bring the best and worst of what we've got to the table. The artwork of this webpage is from my own British footage, for example. If you know where and when to look, it's not half bad. It's all in the "upper trough" in this country, something we have plenty of despite the lack of tropical conditions thunderstorms thrive off.

Why do I take footage of thunderstorms?
One is not a true weather-nut unless their face is pressed up against a window during a thunderstorm, or measuring the depth of snow or the size of hail to the nearest millimetre, or staring at weather data until your eyes bleed and come up with 1% excuses chances of something really rare happening worth documenting. I've always been a weather-nut and one with particular focus on thunderstorms. The unpredictability and shear range of ferocious beauty of a thunderstorm is highly addictive, and like with Poker you get better at predicting the unknown the more you play the game. Storm chasers and enthusiasts alike thrive off the seemingly unpredictable power, and try and capture something truly awesome that would have otherwise been lost forever. It's a thrill ride. The thrill of the chase. Ahem, I also like studying these things and understanding how they work through observations (i.e. footage!) alongside using Met theory to support it.

"Once you've seen one storm, you've seen them all.."
...as someone once said to me. How wrong that statement is. Take a look at my range of footage and you'll see that they are all indeed unique in most aspects. Every cloud is different, every lightning is different, every thunder is different. Every experience is different. You never quite know what you'll see next.


To understand the dynamics of what is happening, some of my pages offer explanations. I learnt much about how they worked in my early teens when I acquired a video camera (1997) and filmed every storm that came along and studied the footage. Since 2007, I trained as a Meteorologist which has been my profession ever since, so hopefully my analysis and theory you read will be just.

I like to try and document every aspect of a thunderstorm if possible where shots of lightning and cloud development are my favoured goals. Even with tornadic storms, my camera often strays away into some surrounding anvil cloud or lightning hotspot action. I aim to spend time capturing the cloud structures as a thunderstorm approaches on the horizon, then the electric action when it arrives up close, and then the cloud structures again as it drifts away. Observing absolutely everything reveals many secrets of the workings of mother nature.

As you will see once you trawl through the website, up until 2007 I had plenty of time and the advantage of living in what is known as the "Cheshire Gap", where surface convergence often takes place, forming convection relentlessly in an unstable northwesterly flow. I also had a cracking view from being positioned on the top of a hill. Since moving away southwards to Devon, life has got busy and storm documentation became less frequent, though the storms that do happen here are mostly continental, with higher quality lightning displays. Cold-air thunderstorms are much rarer down here in Devon being surrounded by cold ocean and sticking out westwards into the Atlantic - the weather tends to be very "flat" throughout the year.


What happened to "Ravenstorm.co.uk"?
Embarrassing but interesting. I was experimenting with HTML in 2003 whilst at Uni, so I designed a website around club/dance music (rave) after I got into bedroom DJ-ing and music collecting, and combined it with a place to put my thunderstorm footage. So the website was dubbed "Rave'N'Storm". My internet game alias happened to be “Raven”. Ravenstorm also sounds like Thunderstorm. So Ravenstorm.co.uk it was. At the time it looked good as a brand and an alias, but as the years have gone by the "rave" aspect has long gone, and the weather footage has expanded, and I've grown up! So in an effort to re-brand in 2020 to something more professional and less personal, "Electric Sky" was born.

What's to come?
Quite a lot, and it will be slow but steady. You will see the website is largely incomplete, with many images still watermarked with "ravenstorm", but over time it will grow and metamorphose. My long-term plans for the website are to showcase as much of my offline footage as I can as well as being educational. I will aim to construct a large section on how thunderstorms work from my professional and observational understanding, rather than carbon copying what's already written out there, so it should be interesting (he says).

I hope you enjoy the website and footage held on other platforms, and please feel free to follow my ventures through the eye of a camera on Youtube, Facebook or Twitter.

Mark Seltzer
 


Publications

Atmospheric Research Volume 235 Article 104769: Lightning flash density in Europe based on 10 years of ATDnet data

Supporters
A big thank you to all my followers, subscribers, and supporters who encourage me to share my footage and insights. This is a non-profit project and certainly costs me more money than I make (if any). My main driver for this is passion, and in hope I can inspire and explain some of the unknowns that people often wonder about with the weather.

Also with special thanks to the following crew for supporting the promotion of my work. Go and check out their stuff!

UK Weather Chase - Sam Whitfield


 

© Mark Seltzer  www.electricsky.co.uk

 

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