Mystic Weather Phenomena

There are some surprising phenomena that occur in nature but often times these brilliant phenomena happen so rarely. Clouds that can take on varied shapes and startling optical illusions that produce strange weather appearances and catch our attention.

Sundog Light Phenomenon

A solar phenomenon known as a sundog arcs over the tundra in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Sundogs are fairly common occurrences in the Arctic and Antarctic. They form when the sun is near the horizon and ice crystals high in the sky line up in a way that bends the solar rays like a prism.

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The Light Pillars

A light pillar is a visual phenomenon created by the reflection of light from ice crystals with near horizontal parallel planar surfaces.

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Punch Hole Clouds

Punch Hole Clouds may appear as a circular or oval holes in a layer of supercooled clouds. Sometimes they assume a form of a perfect circle and persist for quite a long time, drifting together with the cloud layer. One explanation seems to blame the air traffic (the jet contrail intersections) combined with a thermal inversion (a circular motion of a rising warm air).

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Morning Glory Clouds

The morning glory clouds are cylindrical in shape and have no specific region to exist in. These cylindrical clouds range from 1 to 8 in number and extend about 1,000 kilometers.

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Mammatus Clouds

Mammatus is a cellular pattern of pouches hanging underneath the base of a cloud. The name mammatus, derived from the Latin mamma (meaning “udder” or “breast”).

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A Halo is a luminous spot, ring or an arc that surrounds the sun or the moon. The halo is produced by the reflection or refraction of sunlight or moonlight by the ice crystals in the atmosphere.

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Kelvin Helmholtz cloud formations

Kelvin-Helmholtz wave cloud, along the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, over the town of Monument, Colorado. This type of clouds last for only a few minutes. They are shaped in horizontal spirals and are highly distinguishable and form at about 16,000 ft.

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Noctilucent Clouds

Noctilucent clouds over Finland. The orange hues near the horizon are ordinary sunset colors.

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Supercell thunderstorms are among the most dangerous thunderstorms that occur on the planet, and almost always produce severe weather of one kind or another.

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Pyrocumulus Clouds

These clouds happen over forest fires because of the ash put into the atmosphere by the fires.

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Fire Rainbow

A fire rainbow is an extremely rare phenomenon that occurs when the sun is high allowing its light to pass through high-altitude cirrus clouds with a high content of ice crystals.

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Lenticular Clouds

Lenticular Clouds are often mistaken for UFOs. They are stationary lens-shaped clouds that form at high altitudes, normally aligned at right-angles to the wind direction. These clouds are formed by so-called “mountain waves” of air created by strong winds forced over high mountains.

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Ball Lightning

Ball lightning does not look like “lightning.” Instead, it usually appears as a mysterious glowing sphere which drifts horizontally through the air. Sometimes it disappears silently, other times it explodes with extreme violence.

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