parallel lines in the sky

parallel lines in the sky
parallel lines in the sky

Have you ever seen long bands of clouds, aligned parallel, in the middle of a blue sky?

These waves can form with different types of clouds, most often altocumulus. But they always form during stable conditions, so in the middle of a clear sky.

These cloud waves can occur in different ways: the passage of clouds above reliefs, or a cloud layer pushed by the arrival of a front, a degradation. These waves are, for example, regularly observed before the arrival of a storm. Lines can propagate horizontally, but also vertically.

This zone of disturbance in a stable atmosphere actually acts like a pebble thrown into the middle of a lake: once the pebble lands in the lake, it generates a series of waves in the water all around it. These waves are very marked in the area just around the stone and less and less marked as they move away: it is the same mechanism with clouds.

Pressure variations that cause waves in the sky

For example, superb waves were photographed in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, in the north-east of Russia in May 2018:

Weather reportWeather report France explains that, in this case, “ the steep peaks of the Kolyma Mountains located in northeast Russia are obstacles for the wind laminarlaminar blowing from the northwest. The variations of pressurepressure generated by this phenomenon appear in the form of clearly visible waves in this smooth layer of low clouds. In this image, different cloud parabolas develop and then intersect. These waves of gravitygravity then move quickly in the atmosphere: in less than 2 hours, they have traveled almost 100 kilometers here “.

In aviation, these waves are known to cause violent turbulence, and sometimes even accidentsaccidents.

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