Clouds are weird

Don't panic! It's some quite normal mammatus cloud.
There are all sorts of weird-looking clouds. Mammatus is my particular favourite, but you can also get Morning Glory clouds, clouds shaped like waves formed by Kelvin-Helmholz instability and noctilucent clouds, just to name a few. They’re all pretty rare, but they do happen from time to time, and, of course, they’re all quite natural and can be explained using sound scientific principles.

Naturally though, like our friend Liara in Hawaii who craps her pants at the sight of (relatively common, in NZ) lenticular clouds, Clare over at Northland NZ Chemtrails seems to see the presence of a hole-punch cloud as evidence of ‘full-time weather modification’. You’d think if ‘full-time weather modification’ was actually happening and resulted in hole-punch clouds, then we’d see this type of cloud all the time. I await further pictorial evidence of the increased commonality of hole-punch clouds with bated breath. (It goes without saying that attempts to point out to Clare just what type of cloud this was were deleted in short order).

Of course, hole-punch (or fall-streak) clouds are perfectly normal. The wikipedia entry has a nice succinct explanation on their formation…

A fallstreak hole (also: hole punch cloud, punch hole cloud, canal cloud) is a large circular gap that can appear in cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds. Such holes are formed when the water temperature in the clouds is below freezing but the water has not frozen yet due to the lack of ice nucleation particles. When a portion of the water does start to freeze it will set off a domino effect, due to the Bergeron process, causing the water vapor around it to freeze and fall to the earth as well. This leaves a large, often circular, hole in the cloud.

It is believed that a disruption in the stability of the cloud layer, such as that caused by a passing jet, may induce the domino process of evaporation which creates the hole. Such clouds are not unique to one geographic area and have been photographed from the United States to Russia.

Because of their rarity and unusual appearance, fallstreak holes are often mistaken for or attributed to unidentified flying objects.

It’s interesting in this instance that, to an extent, hole-punch clouds can sometimes be triggered by human interfence — passing planes, as mentioned in the wikipedia entry, can set off the process whereby a hole-punch cloud is formed. You can see some good examples of this in the gallery of hole-punch clouds over at the Cloud Appreciation Society — they really are quite spectacular.

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12 thoughts on “Clouds are weird

  1. G’Day Hemi great website! Nice to see science is alive and well (atleast with some people anyway 🙂 ). Like yourself all my comments over at clares ‘interesting’ website seem to be removed within minutes, I am a former commercial pilot, trained met observer and air traffic controller so Im pretty familiar with all aspects of contrails,aircraft performance, routes and clouds. Any questions I can help you with just let me know!

  2. Have to totally disagree with this.

    Clouds are not weird. Clouds are pure physics.

    It is chemtrail hoaxers who are weird! 🙂

    Of course since I work for a Govt aviation authority I am also part of fantasy conspiracy, so I would say that, wouldn’t I…;)

    • i am the biblical prophet that made the pope retire. I made the first pope in six centuries quit his job predicting the destruction of Christchurch the month before it was destroyed twice after they said do it again then it taking actually two Christ churches before predicting of The Great 9.0 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan finally making the pope actually retire with a two week Tunguska notice the word “Christchurch” earthquake got your tongue the month of the great Chch earthquake and the following e statements made in the month before the Great Chch earthquake are quotes from me Christopher Michael Simpson Social Security Number Six Hundred and Sixty-Six the Biblical Prophet and these statements you have my word they were all made online and in email the month before the Two Twenty-Two destruction of Christchurch and the ringing of the TV news guys in the CTV Building on Tuesday oh you don’t say whose day you know whose day who is who was and who is to come Rodney King of Kings Lord of The Rings the TV news guys i made the pope retire with two Christ churches and a Tsunami Tohoku saw i successfully predicting the tsunami before threatening the single most highly unlikely celestial super bolide Airburst “Tunguska” event that ever come to pass pointed pope with photographs of Jesus fresh off the double cross I said jump jump bitch IN REPLY TO THE BIBLICAL PROPHET THE MONTH BEFORE THE GREAT CHRISTCHURCH EARTHQUAKE ON GEORGE WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY “SPOILER ALERT: Please keep in mind the following statements were made in the month before the earthquake took place” DOUBLE SPOILER ALERT: THE EARTHQUAKE HAD YET TO TAKE PLACE FOR A month wake the hell up don’t make me tell you three times Mike C who said: January 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm Yawn….your rantings are making even less sense now, so I guess “hoaxer” may not be appropraite – hoaxers at least usually try to make sense and get people to belive their particular delusion. You seem to have failed to have made “hundreds of posts” predicting the Chch earthquake anywhere that anyone read them – did you also predict today’s aftershock? when’s hte next one? Let’s have some sevcerity, dates and times please – some actual facts – verifiable information instead of screeches and spam would be nice. Oh and Tesla didn’t destabilize Alaska – it has a history of earthquakes going back to 1789 in recorded history, and evicence of them dates back, of course, to pre-history. Alaska is on the “ring of fire” – that’s teh Pacific volcanic & eartjhquake zone. Sheesh…… Biblical Prophet says: “The month before the Christchurch Earthquake” January 5, 2011 at 3:24 pm P.S.S. My posts are indexed forever. Google them bitch. -Tesla made earthquakes MikeC says: “The month before the Christchurch Earthquake” January 5, 2011 at 3:37 pm I did google them “bitch”, and I found nothing before the earthquake. Why can’t you just provide a refernce to them? Persumably you know where they are, and it would be so much more convincing than trying to persuade people to wade throug hthe morass of drivell that google punts up under your name. Or is it that you have big words and no substance, just like your posts here? As for spelling – nothing wrong with mine – it’s my typing that sucks. But I do know how to use apostrophies and am familiar with basic logic, so that puts me well ahead of you in things that are actually relevant. Biblical Prophet says: “The month before the Christchurch Earthquake” January 5, 2011 at 3:40 pm No, you are wrong. My posts are indexed forever. I am Yourpenguy. If I point them out right away…think of all the work that would save you. Tesla made earthquakes Biblical Prophet says: “The month before the Christchurch Earthquake” January 6, 2011 at 2:57 pm Here’s one… This was September 2, 2010. The day before ChristChurch. I shit you not. @77syzygy I say my Biblical Prophesy for the 111th year anniversary of the first W.M.D. is, “THERE WILL BE EARTHQUAKES IN DIVERSE PLACES, it lasted 27 days.” -Tesla made earthquakes in 1899 insightllc 4 months ago http://www.youtube.com/comment_servlet?all_comments=1&v=fWoNDxjOksM&page=8 MikeC says: “The month before the Christchurch Earthquake” January 6, 2011 at 5:19 pm So no actual mention of Christchurch then – only “there wil lbe lots of earthquakes somewhere”? And you call that a prediction?? I mean, it’s not like there’s 10 minutes goes by without an earthquake someewhere in the world, so as far as prediciotns goes it’s not very specific, nor remarkable, nor useful. Is that it? 1 post, completely unspecific, and on that you call yourswelf a prophet? Hey I got one – the sun will rise in Auckland on 11 “The month before the Christchurch Earthquake” January at 06:13 am! Far more useful and accurate than your efforts….but just as trivial! Biblical Prophet says: “The month before the Christchurch Earthquake” January 6, 2011 at 6:11 pm So no actual mention of Christchurch then – only “there wil lbe lots of earthquakes somewhere”? (IT WAS THE 5TH COSTLIEST EARTHQUAKE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD) And you call that a prediction?? I mean, it’s not like there’s 10 minutes goes by without an earthquake someewhere in the world, so as far as prediciotns goes it’s not very specific, nor remarkable, nor useful. (THERE WERE NO “MAJOR” EARTHQUAKES GREATER THAN 6.0 FOR I THINK 21 STRAIGHT DAYS PRIOR TO MY PREDICTION… THEN THERE WERE TWO THAT DAY, FIRST ALASKA THEN CHRISTCHURCH TO MARK THE 111 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE TESLA W.M.D.) Is that it? 1 post, completely unspecific, and on that you call yourswelf a prophet? (I HAVE POSTED THOUSANDS OF TIMES AND INDEXED MILLIONS OF PAGES… TO BRING YOU MY SIMPLE TRUTH… TESLA MADE EARTHQUAKES… GOOGLE IT… ) Hey I got one – the sun will rise in Auckland on 11 “The month before the Christchurch Earthquake” January at 06:13 am! Far more useful and accurate than your efforts….but just as trivial! Is this all you got people? ALL OF YOU! CALLING YOURSELVES DEBUNKERS? BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I JUMPED UP IN YOUR HOUSE… AND OWNED ALL YOU FUCKING LAMES WITH THE MOST HIGHLY UNLIKELY ARGUMENT IN THE HISTORY OF DEBATE…. BAHAHAHAHAHA WHO WANTS SOME… YOU BITCH? TESLA MADE EARTHQUAKES AND YOU’RE GOING TO HELL WHUT? MikeC says: “The month before the Christchurch Earthquake” January 6, 2011 at 8:34 pm soooooo….let’s see…you predicted earthquakes in diverse places..and because 1 happened in Chch within 3 weeks your prediction was accurate,? Yeah…well I predict a magnitude 9 earthquake somewhere in the world, some time in the next 3333 yeears – ta da – I’m as good as you at it! :):):) Hmm….how many othe times last year did you make that same prediction? And what is the significance of 21 days and factor 6? Oh yeah…divisible by 3 I guess….well so is 33 and 3, and 93 and -3, and there was a 6.2 in PNG 26 days later – that’s 6.2 and 26 – 2 x 3 = 6…gosh – how did you miss that one?? The reason you see no debunking is that: 1/ you are blind to actual verifiable evidence (that’s the stuff otehr people call facts); and 2/ everyone is laughing too much! 🙂 Thanks for the entertainment 🙂 MikeC says: “The month before the Christchurch Earthquake” January 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm Yawn….your rantings are making even less sense now, so I guess “hoaxer” may not be appropraite – hoaxers at least usually try to make sense and get people to belive their particular delusion. You seem to have failed to have made “hundreds of posts” predicting the Chch earthquake anywhere that anyone read them – did you also predict today’s aftershock? when’s hte next one? Let’s have some sevcerity, dates and times please – some actual facts – verifiable information instead of screeches and spam would be nice.

    • I made the pope retire electronically predicting in detail and by email the single #costliest natural disaster of any kind ever in the history of mankind individually publishing a thousand times specifically right before it then came to pass

    • Cheers Mike! I like all those Fall (Autumn) colours you’re getting at the moment. We don’t get so much of that deciduous tree action here in New Zealand — it looks amazing!

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