Aug 18 2008

Cloud Gazing

Published by at 7:16 am under Weather & Sky


One of the benefits of watching birds is that I’ve gained an appreciation for clouds.  The beautiful ones are almost as ephemeral as birds, forming and dissipating in a matter of minutes.  I noticed this principle on Sunday at Lake Arthur.

It was a warm sunny day as I walked the trails along the lake shore.  Eventually the sound of the water and wind lulled me into sleepiness.  Hammock time!  But I didn’t have a hammock so I sat down on the grass.  Pretty soon I lay down and looked straight up.

A few birds caught my attention but the big attraction was the cloud layer that looked like a honeycomb, as shown here.

Cirrocumulus are the highest clouds.  Formed of ice crystals above 16,500 feet, they often have an iridescence that I can see with my polarized sunglasses.   Below them were a few altocumulus, mid-level clouds at 6,500 to 16,500 feet and one beautiful lenticular cloud, a lozenge in the sky.

If the altocumulus clouds had been thicker, they might have meant a weather system was approaching.  Instead, they broke up and floated away leaving a clear sky Sunday night with a bright, full moon.

Summer clouds make me happy.  I will try to remember this in November when Pittsburgh’s clouds blanket the sky.

(stock photo from Shutterstock)

One response so far

One Response to “Cloud Gazing”

  1. Lindaon 19 Aug 2008 at 11:27 am

    Just this past Sunday I was pointing out the beautiful clouds to my 3 year old granson. He asked, “Grandma, may I touch them?” Wow, this lead to a very interesting discussion. I told him that when I was little, I liked to lay in the grass and pick out pictures in the clouds. A concept that he just does not grasp yet, but I am looking forward to doing this with him. I love the October sky and already I see some trees, maples and walnut starting to turn color.

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