Phenomena

Wave Clouds

Coming home from APS DFD, I looked out the window as we flew east over the last of the Rockies and caught these wave clouds. Air flowing west to east gets disturbed by the mountains, which creates internal waves in the atmosphere. Generally, these are invisible–though they can cause some of the turbulence you feel when flying. In this case, water vapor has condensed at the crests of the internal waves, creating a pattern of cloudy and clear stripes to mark the waves. The internal waves damped out by the time we flew a couple hundred miles east of Denver, but for awhile conditions were just right. (Photo credit: N. Sharp)

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