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

By Art Rangno

Retiree from a group specializing in airborne measurements of clouds and aerosols at the University of Washington (Cloud and Aerosol Research Group). The projects in which I participated were in many countries; from the Arctic to Brazil, from the Marshall Islands to South Africa.