Category Archives: “Altocumulocirrus”

A study in cold Altocumulus and about a balloon mistaken for a space object

Balloon sounding released from the U of AZ about 3:30 PM AST. Altocumulus clouds were no less than 21,000 feet above Catalina at -20°C (4°F).  Sounding courtesy of IPS Meteostar.  BTW, it wasn’t this balloon–see below.
11:15 AM. A stationary balloon that hovers SE of Tucson.  Can you find it?  I had never noticed it before and at first thought it was in space, above the Cirrus!  How crazy was that?  Likely to be a device up there  to monitor the US Border.
2:55 PM. Cirrocumulus with an aircraft produced ice canal in it , tight half of photo (that ice cloud now termed, “Cirrus anthropogenitus”).
4:02 PM. A complex sky for sure. Little tufts of Altocumulus way up at 21,000 feet above ground level, with Ac castellanus turrets (e.g., left above horizon).  SInce those turrets are reaching up to temperatures well below -30°C (-22°F)  they’re converting to all ice (such as center right).   Those icy ones would be called, “Cirrus spissatus.”  It would also not be untoward, and I know you don’t want that, to just call those deeper clouds with turrets on the left, “Cirrus castellanus.”

5:56 PM. Lines of Altocumulus make for an OK sunset.

Another pretty cloud day ahead.  Though most of the Altocumulus clouds are flat, there are some whoppers off to the north now, Ac cas so large they might have to be called Cumulonimbus, certainly large enough to produce radar echoes, maybe a sprinkle at the ground.

Lots of wind tomorrow, as you likely know,  but no rain in sight still.  So, October almost surely will end as a rainless month.  Our average for October is just over an inch of rain!

The End

Some recent clouds

May 24th:

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May 25th, yesterday, starting with sunrise color

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Later yesterday morning, some interesting “Altocumulocirrus”, a rare breed indeed, mocking/mimicking Altocumulus.

Maybe Cirrus floccus would come closest to the true name, but to every eye but that of a genuine cloud maven person, it would be deemed just “Altocumulus”.  Check these out to see how good you were–and NO correcting your cloud diaries!!!!

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5:47 AM. Two layers are visible, a distant Altocumulus castellanus one, and the higher, much higher, cirriform clouds resembling Altocumulus. If you don’t believe me, the sounding from the U of AZ is below.
The TUS balloon sounding for 5 AM AST yesterday. The Altocumulus patches were up around 16,000 feet, and the cirriform clouds around 33,000 feet and at about -50°C
The TUS balloon sounding for 5 AM AST yesterday. The Altocumulus patches were up around 16,000 feet, and the cirriform clouds around 33,000 feet and at about -50°C (-58°F).  Had to cuss that bit because I sensed some doubt out there.
6:38 AM. Same cloud layer. Seriously, how can you not call this "Altocumulus", it mimicks it so well. But these globules are all ice, no liquid water of course anywhere near -50°C unless we believe the reports of Simpson (1963) who purported liquid at -62°C. Nobody believed him though; me ,neither.
6:38 AM. Same cloud layer. Seriously, how can you not call this “Altocumulus”, it mimicks it so well. But these globules are all ice, no liquid water of course anywhere near -50°C unless we believe the reports of Simpson (1963) who purported liquid at -62°C. Nobody believed him though; me ,neither.
7:37 AM. Another view of this cirriform layer making a mockery out of Altocumlus. Note that there is that tiny bit of shading, too, in these cloudlets.
7:37 AM. Another view of this cirriform layer making a mockery out of Altocumlus. Note that there is that tiny bit of shading, too, in these cloudlets.
5:24 PM. The convection leading to cellular structure was still evident pretty much the whole day. Again, we have a problem. Shading like this is not officially permitted with in cirriform clouds except in the "spissatus" species. One would be thinking "Altostratus" here since that cloud is widespread and can have gray shading. When you look at the TUS sounding nearest this time, you find that the moisture is still contained in the upper reaches of the troposphere, where it was in the morning, and that would be in the "etage" for high clouds, 33,000 feet or so above sea level.
5:24 PM. The convection leading to cellular structure was still evident pretty much the whole day. Again, we have a problem. Shading like this is not officially permitted with in cirriform clouds except in the “spissatus” species. One would be thinking “Altostratus” here since that cloud is widespread and can have gray shading. When you look at the TUS sounding nearest this time, you find that the moisture is still contained in the upper reaches of the troposphere, where it was in the morning, and that would be in the “etage” for high clouds, 30,000 feet or so above sea level.
The TUS balloon sounding for 5 PM AST, May 25th. The temperature of that icy layer ranged from about -35°C on the bottom to -60° C at top.
The TUS balloon sounding for 5 PM AST, May 25th. The temperature of that icy layer ranged from about -35°C on the bottom to -60° C at top, so there would not be any liquid water in it even though is might appear in some places.  Where’s my Lear jet?  Need to check these things out and in a hurry!

Now for some prettiness from yesterday evening:

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The End