Nacreous or ‘mother of pearl’ cloud sightings

10 12 2012

Yesterday there was several sightings of an iridescent cloud in Scotland shared with us on Twitter and Facebook.

As we did not observe the cloud ourselves and are only seeing the pictures, it’s not possible to be 100% certain, however it is most likely that these are nacreous clouds, also known as mother of pearl clouds.

This eye-catching cloud is rarely seen, and has only been sighted in polar regions (such as Scotland and Norway) in the winter months, especially when there is a low over northern Scandinavia with a strong west/north-westerly wind blowing over Scotland. They only form in the lower stratosphere – around 15 miles up – when temperatures here are below -78 °C.

Although nacreous clouds are brightest when the sun is just below the horizon, illuminating them from below, they can also still be seen several hours after the sun has gone down.

Have you seen any interesting weather phenomenons lately? Add your pictures to our Facebook page or tweet them to us @metoffice.

Visit our website for more information on cloud spotting.





Cloud spotting infographic and video

17 01 2012

Having trouble telling a cumulus from a stratus cloud? In our video James Chubb explains how clouds form and how this can help you can tell one cloud from another. We’ve also put together a guide to identifying all the different cloud types and how clouds form on the Met Office website.

To help with observing clouds we’ve created this infographic. Feel free to share and use on your own website or blog, you can get the embed code and a printable version from our cloud spotting page.

Met Office guide to cloud types and pronunciations
Source: metoffice.gov.uk

If you spot any interesting clouds, why not take a picture and add them to our Flickr clouds group.








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