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One Weird Cloud

31 Mar 2014, 07:01 UTC
One Weird Cloud
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

I went out on my deck last night to check out the sunset, and saw this really weird cloud in the sky. It was like some kind of “bridge” between two other clouds. I’m talking about that strange linear structure you see near the center of this photo. Of course, I was curious what could have caused something like that.
This is one of the things I like about science. Whenever you observe something unusual, you know there’s some kind of logical explanation behind it. It might not be obvious at first, and there’s always the chance that it was just some “random” effect (especially with clouds). But even in the less-exact science of meteorology, there are laws that govern behavior, allow predictions, and provide explanations.
The first thing that came to mind was that some type of spurious updraft had deformed the lower cloud. Problem with that was, it’s not really oriented upward, and updrafts generally go “up.” The second thing I thought of was that it was a totally separate cloud forming over Lake Pleasant, which lies just beyond those mountains on the horizon. Problem with that was, the kinds of clouds that form from evaporated water over ...

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