What were those strange clouds? - Tucson News Now

Weather 101: Clouds that look like ocean waves

An interesting cloud formed in the Tucson sky on January 3, 2012.  Gordon Moyer, a Tucson resident, took this photo.

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The clouds, commonly known as "wave clouds", are called "Kelvin-Helmholtz" clouds. They are named after Lord Kelvin and Hermann von Helmholtz, the scientists who first explained them in the late 1800s.

The clouds form when the wind is either blowing at different directions or at different speeds at the bottom and top of the clouds, comparatively.

The following figures illustrate this. Notice that wave patterns form because the flow is in opposite directions.

See It, Snap It, Send It

See It, Snap It, Send It


To see or submit your interesting photos, click here.

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