Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Nacreous clouds

The above picture was taken by scientists in Antarctica, who are starting to see hints of the sun for the first time in months as the Antarctic winter begins to wind down. The story from CNN can be found here.

These clouds are known as "nacreous" clouds, and also are known as "mother of pearl" clouds. These clouds form in the stratosphere (higher than almost all other clouds) and have shapes dominated by wave-like motions in the stratosphere.

More pictures of nacreous clouds, including some spectacular ones, can be found here as part of a website on atmospheric optics, including rainbows, sundogs, and so on.

For those interested, "nacreous" means something possesing the qualities of mother-of-pearl, or iridescent.

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