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don’t the clouds in this video remind you of cartoon ocean waves?  an explanation via npr:

These clouds, in Birmingham, Ala., were formed when two layers of air — one fast, the other slow — collided at just the right speed to create rises and dips that caused the clouds to curl in on themselves and crash, just like waves on a beach.

They are called Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds. They don’t last long, but they remind us that we live in a turbulent ocean of air.

and more from npr on a link between the ocean and the sky:

But now comes an even more beautiful connection. Not only do clouds look like ocean waves, sometimes waves in the ocean help create clouds in the sky.

In his book, The Wave Watcher’s Companion, Gavin Pretor-Pinney says that when waves come crashing down at a beach, creating that white, frothy foam, “the turbulence causes countless tiny air bubbles to form and burst, releasing a fine mist of water droplets into the air.”

How Ocean Waves Build Clouds

When the water evaporates, what’s left are microscopic bits of salt suspended in the air. (That’s why the beach air tastes so salty.) As the air gets hotter, those bit of salt rise higher and become magnets for moisture.

Think of a little dot of salt moving up, up, up into the cooler wetter air. Bits of moisture cling to it as it rises, becoming droplets, the droplets begin to attach to each other, and before you know it, salt-seeded droplets are composing themselves into low-lying clouds.

The ocean, then, is seeding clouds in the sky!

the clouds featured in atolemdro’s background pic caught my eye when i saw them hanging low above the caribbean sea (here’s the full pic for some perspective).  maybe the sea waves created them as well.

related: facing the waves of life | driving to the moon | spending time on the cloudy subtleties | horizontal rainbow in paris


ocean waves in the sky


horizontal rainbow in paris

04/27/13 3 Comments


taken by betrand kulik. here’s nasa‘s explanation for this natural layer cake of color:

Why is this horizon so colorful? Because, opposite the Sun, it is raining. What is pictured above is actually just a common rainbow. It’s uncommon appearance is caused by the Sun being unusually high in the sky during the rainbow‘s creation. Since every rainbow‘s center must be exactly opposite the Sun, a high Sun reflecting off of a distant rain will produce a low rainbow where only the very top is visible — because the rest of the rainbow is below the horizon. Furthermore, no two observers can see exactly the same rainbow — every person finds themselves exactly between the Sun and rainbow’s center, and every observer sees the colorful circular band precisely 42 degrees from rainbow’s center. 

related: pictures of perfection | great blue hole | watching god play | all of the lights

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