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Nacreous Clouds

When we were in Oslo between Christmas and New Years, we saw some very strange looking clouds. We were in Frognerparken, a well-known park with hundreds of statues by the same sculptor, Gustav Vigeland. The sun had already set, but these clouds, rather than turning red or dark gray, were a brilliant white. I guessed they were so high up in the atmosphere that the sun shone on them from below the horizon without going through a lot of air, which would turn the light red.

Only later did I learn that they were called nacreous clouds, or Polar Stratospheric Clouds. I was right about why they glowed white, but I didn’t know that they were quite rare in places humans live. To form these clouds, temperature must be very low. That means in polar winters. My friend Joe had seen them in Antarctica.

It had been very stormy just before that, so it’s possible that the nacreous clouds were created by something call “lee waves,” which can push water vapor to an altitude where they don’t belong. Here is an article from a Norwegian newspaper about this.

  1. Stephen Pace #

    I like it when you make up words like Frognerparken, but when you start photoshopping in evil babies riding naked ladies or a girl sitting on legs made to look like a penis, you’ve gone too far, Sir. Too far!

    January 25, 2012
    • Stephen Pace #

      Kidding, of course.

      January 25, 2012
    • Nadia #

      get your head out of the gutter!!

      January 26, 2012
      • Don M #

        I nominate Stephen Pace’s original comment as Best Comment on the Blog!

        January 30, 2012
  2. Kirrily #

    @Stephen – LOL

    January 25, 2012
  3. Stan #

    Thanks for sharing the post…..Stan here…..Linda’s Bfriend……hope to meet you and yours someday……maybe sailing….about to buy a 39 foot steel cutter……hope to see lots of beauty and have some adventures on her…..

    February 6, 2012
    • Hello Stan,
      Nice to meet you, in the most unlikely place. I’m trying to get Linda to come visit here, and of course you’re welcome to join her. Joe, Rob and I were talking at one point about getting an indestructible steel hull. Very nice.

      February 6, 2012

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