Undulatus Asperatus

This surrealistic timelapse doesn’t show an ocean in the sky. These are undulatus asperatus clouds rolling over Lincoln, Nebraska. Also known simply as asperatus, this cloud formation has been proposed as but not yet recognized as a distinctive cloud type. Their speed is much slower than shown in the animation, but the wave-like motion is accurate and is the source of the cloud’s name, which comes from the Latin word aspero, meaning to make rough. Though they appear stormy, asperatus clouds do not usually produce storms. They form under conditions similar to those of mammatus clouds, but wind shear at the cloud level causes the undulations to form. (Maybe some Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities going on there?) You can check out many more images of asperatus clouds at the Cloud Appreciation Society’s gallery. (Image credit: A. Schueth, source video; submitted by leftcoastjunkies)

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