Saturday, October 22, 2016

Blue skies return to Silver Lake

Photo by Sandy Driscoll

It takes only a few grey days to appreciate this afternoon’s blue skies streaked with clouds as seen here from Silver Lake. “I was just in my backyard, looked up and saw these absolutely amazing clouds,” said Sandy Driscoll who snapped the photo above. ” I know there are different names for clouds and formations, but I’ve never seen ones like this before.” Could these be what some weather watchers call cloud streets?

Photo by Sandy Driscoll

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  1. These are cirrocumulus clouds. They generally occur due to two layers of air, one passing over the other. The wavy pattern is characteristic of the onset of Kelvin-Helmholtz turbulence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelvin–Helmholtz_instability) forming in the boundary between the layers.

    They are also quite beautiful. Thanks for the pic.

    • Wow, thanks PW! I just knew one of the EastsiderLA’s readers would know what they are! And glad you enjoyed the pics!

    • I should have said: in this case, one of the layers is warm, moist air, and another is cool, dry air. The turbulence draws curls of the warm air into the layer of cool air. The warm air then cools down, and the water it was holding condenses out (perhaps as small ice crystals). That’s what causes the clouds. The pattern of cloud/no cloud is due to the way the turbulence forms.

  2. My non-meteorological mother called this a buttermilk sky.

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