Just a couple of photos of yesterday morning’s glorious display of Cirrus (OK, “uncinus”) clouds, those high, icy white ones that were so fantastic enhanncing the desert and Catalina mountain background, taken from on top of a horse.
As you know by now, those Cirrus clouds are composed of tiny ice crystals, but, as tiny as they are, they are generally far larger than droplets in clouds. So, when ice clouds form, they are essentially precipitating clouds. Those ice crystals are too heavy to stay aloft and the larger ones settle out producing these extremely fine, delicate strands. Sometimes those trails extend thousands of feet below the “head” of the cloud where they were generated, and as they fall, go into regions where the wind is slightly different in velocity and direction, and so you get interesting twists and turns.
If you could fly up there, you would find tiny snowstorms of simple ice crystals shaped like little bullets (a crystal type), triangular prisms, stubby columns, or plates, crystals that would sparkle as they went buy and showed their pristine faces to the sun. Seen’em do that many times when with the U of WA and their flight research program. They look like daytime shooting stars, or fairy dust, as they rush by the pilot’s window, and also where I was, viewing from a dome atop the fuselage of our various aircraft. You would not know you were in a “cloud” except for those displays.
The last photo is of a droplet cloud, Cirrocumulus, composed of extra tiny cloudlets. It was a higher altitude one, pretty cold up there, maybe -30 C. Went off the “screen” before it may have crystalized into a Cirrus cloud many do. I thought it was a nice view, taken on the Canyon Loop Trail near Green Rock yesterday.