These clouds were recently spotted in the skies above Breckinridge, Colorado.
When clouds resemble ocean waves like this, they are called Kelvin-Helmoltz clouds, or billows. Waves can occur when two or more layers of a fluid are moving at different speeds. In water, this happens when fast-moving air blows across slower-moving water. With clouds, it occurs because two different layers of air meet at the cloud, where the top layer moves much faster than the bottom layer.
These conditions can be dangerous, and often cause turbulence for aircraft that fly through them, however they are also astonishing to look at, and are believed to have inspired the swirls in van Gogh’s “Starry Night” painting.
📷 Sally Ross, Larimer County, Colorado
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