By Richard Scorer
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Extra info for A Colour Guide to Clouds
36. Contrails (short for aircraft condensation trails) persist when they are formed at a sufficiently low temperature for them to become frozen before they evaporate. Then (as in 5 and 35) because of different winds at different levels, they may be spread over the sky to form a layer of artificial cirrus. Sometimes the air is sufficiently dry for the ice cloud to evaporate in ten minutes or so; but often it may last for several hours. Below, dust rising from a power station can be seen; as the sun goes down the natural convection from the ground stops so that the solitary artificial thermals can easily be seen.
It becomes rather faint if the cloud is vigorous cumulus and is best developed in fog or patches of cloud formed on hillsides up which the wind is blowing. When a glory or a rainbow (11) is seen we know we are looking at water droplets and not ice crystals. Similar colours round the sun or moon (called a corona) also indicate water cloud, as do the coloured patches of cloud somewhat further from the sun (called iridescence), Glories are very easy to see from an aircraft flying above cloud. The corona and iridescence are best seen through dark glasses.
A wave hole is produced in a layer of cloud where the air descends into the trough between two waves. This picture also shows that wave clouds, with their typical smooth appearance, can occur among cumulus clouds. This is particularly true near the coast, because as the air blows inland it takes some time for the cumulus to develop. Further inland the convection tends to spoil the smooth flow needed to produce wave clouds. 30. A plume of cirrus is often formed in a wave cloud if the temperature is sufficiently low—that is if the cloud is at sufficient height.
A Colour Guide to Clouds by Richard Scorer