WTHR Meteorologist Sean Ash says "Tsunami clouds" may be a nickname for the clouds but they are actually called the Kelvin-Helmholtz cloud and are pretty rare. In a supercell, vertical wind shear creates huge horizontal tubes of spinning air. But what about waves in the sky? The photo shared on social media captured clouds that look like ocean waves in the sky. They are wave clouds and their undulating sheet-like forms reveal the winds and waves of the stratosphere. Rare wave-like clouds known as Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds were spotted above Brookings last week. In June 2015, the name – slightly modified to its noun form, asperitas – was officially accepted into the World Meteorological Organisation's International Cloud Atlas, the reference system used by meteorologists across the globe. No particular order in how ‘rare’ they are though. What sets them apart from regular violent storms is a persistent rotating updraft called a mesocyclone, which allows the storm to sustain itself over many hours. Their name derives from the Latin mamma, which means "udder" or "breast", and they can extend over many hundreds of miles of cloud. These rare clouds, sometimes called mother-of-pearl clouds, are 15 – 25km (9 -16 miles) high in the stratosphere and well above tropospheric clouds. The resulting instability causes the breaking wave formation, both in the ocean and the air. 1 month ago. The ice crystals are mostly small spheroidal and irregular-shaped particles. As an air mass travels through the wave, it undergoes repeated uplift and descent. The ripples form when humid air at the far-flung edges of the storm system pushes past clear, cool air high in the sky. Though beautiful, these turbulent atmospheric waves are a sign that the air is extremely unstable and may be dangerous to aircraft. This is a list of what I believe to be the top 10 rarest cloud formations. Virga – meaning literally "shaft" or "branch" – are associated with many different kinds of cloud. As a result, these storms typically dissipate within about 30 minutes of starting. 1. In the descending part of the wave, those clouds will evaporate due to adiabaticheating, leading to the characteristic clouded and clear ban… The air cools as it rises and, if there is enough moisture in the air, the water condenses and forms clouds. Rare clouds require the right conditions in order to occur. From the ethereal to the ominous, our planet's skies are teeming with strange clouds. The prettiest jellyfish skies occur mostly with high clouds that tend to form individual cloudlets, like altocumulus and cirrocumulus. It's the resistance of the cool air to this motion that causes the ripples. Rare wave clouds rolled through the sky over Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia on Tuesday: ‘It was so amazing’ ... Kelvin-Helmholtz wave clouds don’t last long. They are most commonly spotted rolling across the North American plains. Another rare glimpse of Kelvin-Helmholtz wave clouds over Fort Collins. In the descending part of the wave, those clouds will evaporate due to adiabatic heating, leading to the characteristic clouded and clear bands. Understanding this can improve climate models. ... Quite often, these clouds will form with cirrus, altocumulus, stratocumulus, and stratus clouds. The photo shared on social media captured clouds that look like ocean waves in the sky. Nacreous Clouds. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1977. Amy Hunter told AccuWeather that the stunning sight in the evening sky only lasted less than 60 seconds — but the unique phenomenon has since left a lasting impression on millions. 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