Cloud Waves in the Crimson Tide
The tsunami-wave-shaped clouds pictured above appeared in the sky over Birmingham, Alabama early last Friday morning. This phenomenon of cumulus crests surging forward in slow-motion is a rare occurrence, caused by the same physics that create the “wave” shape seen in ocean tides.
According to LiveScience:
“Whether seen in the sky or in the ocean, this type of turbulence always forms when a fast-moving layer of fluid slides on top of a slower, thicker layer, dragging its surface. Water waves, for example, form when the layer of fluid above them (i.e., the air) is moving faster than the layer of fluid below (i.e., the water). When the difference between the wind and water speed increases to a certain point, the waves “break” and they take on the telltale Kelvin-Helmholtz shape.”
As I write this, I am preparing to board a plane back home to spend the holidays with family in Alabama. However, this series of pictures makes me wish I had scheduled my trip a week sooner, having the fortune to fly through such an amazing sight.