WEST SEATTLE WEATHER: Rainbow clouds!

Thanks to everyone who sent photos of a weather phenomenon today – “rainbow clouds” over West Seattle. Above, from an anonymous texter; below, from Thomas Bach at Alki:

And from Craig Page, looking toward Vashon:

As explained here, this is also referred to simply as “cloud iridescence” is caused by “diffraction (which) occurs when small water droplets or small ice crystals scatter the sun’s light. … The cloud must be thin and have lots of water droplets or ice crystals of about the same size. When that happens, the sun’s rays encounter just a few droplets at at time. For this reason, semi-transparent clouds or clouds that are just forming are the ones most likely to have iridescence.”

2 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE WEATHER: Rainbow clouds!"

  • 1994 June 10, 2024 (9:20 pm)

    Cool! Thanks all for sharing – always something new to learn :)

  • Patrick June 10, 2024 (9:59 pm)

    The actual scientific name for these are…Circumhorizontal arc.

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