No, Cirrus is NOT a microbrew as you may have thought from the title and if you were visiting this site for the first time. (and to continue being juvenile from yesterday’s “Dusty Parhelia” submission because that’s who I am….)
In fact, Cirrus clouds are the exact opposite of a microbrew. Cirrus is a high CLOUD, 15,000 to 45,000 feet above ground level, lower in the Arctic or when its cold, higher in the Tropics or when its warm, like today here in Catallina. They’re composed of ice crystals with some momentary exceptions at the time of formation. To continue a theme, there are no “ice crystals” in beer; beer is also generally found at ground level.
Q. E. D.
BTW, if you’re still interested in beer and clouds, get this book:
Clouds in a Glass of Beer: Simple Experiments in Atmospheric Physics by Professor Craig Bohren. In spite of having an interest in beer or perhaps because of it, he is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Meteorology at Penn State University, one of the leading party schools in America. Writes about optics, too, a real atmo optician. Kidding aside, his book is one of the best you can get on how the atmo works.
To sum up, it should be another fun day of Cirrus cloud viewing for you and me. What kind will we see?
Man, yesterday was great! Some unanticipated Altocumulus castellanus and floccus, middle-level clouds with little turrets, many having long fall streaks of snow (virga) rolled in during the afternoon underneath the higher Cirrus clouds, keeping the temperature down a bit. Here are some shots of what went overhead, in chronological order, in case you missed the “show.”
The show ended with dessert, another one of our gorgeous sunsets; they are particularly so when two or more cloud layers are present. In those case, you see the residual scattered light that has passed through the lower part of the atmosphere when the sun sets, turning the lower clouds gold or orange (the longer, “redder” wavelengths of light are still making it through) while the higher ones, where the sun’s light is not so scattered in passing through the atmo, are that bit lighter in color, white before this last photo. The greater the height difference in the clouds, the greater the differences in sunset colors between them. When you add shadows and highlights where the sun is striking the clouds, well, it doesn’t get any better than this. OK, I am feeling lazy now about captions; been up since 3 AM something. Can YOU name these clouds? If not, just enjoy.