Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Something Called Kelvin-Helmholtz Is A Thing Of Beauty

Beautiful Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds over
Breckenridge, Colorado last week. 
A Kelvin-Helmholtz cloud hit the ski resort of Breckenridge, Colorado last week.

Don't worry, everything's fine. The name sounds like maybe a toxic gas enveloped the region, but nope! Kelvin-Helmholtz is a thing of beauty.

The clouds resemble breaking waves in a sea. They sometimes form when air at higher levels of the atmosphere is moving much faster than the layer below it.

The high speed air up top will sometimes grap the top layer of lower lying clouds and form them into wave-like structures.

As you can see in the time lapse of the Breckenridge clouds, below, they're quite beautiful. Especially when you see them at sunset, like what happened in the video.

For those of us on the ground Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds are absolutely nothing to worry about. They are a sign of instability and rough air up above, so airliners and pilots tend to watch out for these.

Here's the video:

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