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Mystery clouds

  1. Mar 15, 2016 #1
    Can you explain this?

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 15, 2016 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

  4. Mar 15, 2016 #3


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    Like Russ, I don't see anything unusual
    just clouds forming and disappearing, they do that all the time

  5. Mar 16, 2016 #4


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    I can only guess that the film maker considers it a mystery that he did not have to pan his camera to follow a horizontal movement of the clouds forming and disappearing. Perhaps he/she should reflect upon renaming the video to a less leading description.
  6. Mar 17, 2016 #5
    Could be a cumulus cloud forming at the dew point of rising hot air from the ground (thermal up rising cumulus cloud) being kicked off by a region of rotor turbulence overhead which is found under some clear blue sky wave wind flow conditions.

    Sorry this is hard to write on an iPad

    On the following website look for the section 3 graphic.
    Under the sections 3.Winds due to topographic barriers

    I think the cloud is a cumulus being kicked up from the ground because of an overhead rotor air instability hence its stationary position, I think you can see the descending part of the cloud, it could be the actual rotor cloud but it doesn't have the right rotation in it which leads me to think it could be a vertical rising cumulus cloud leading into the uprising part of the rotor, all the usual overhead rotor and waves cloud cant seen because the conditions are not just right for further cloud formation.

    We would use these thermals to gain height in a glider/sailplane, then climb into the rotor it is not to turbulent and then into the overhead wave.

    I could easily be wrong as well.

    Was there a large mountain upwind within 3-10 miles?

    The fact the clouds come and go 3-4 times over 20 min in a stationary position means it's a wind flow driven phenomena and not the usual heat convection thermal/cumulus
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  7. Mar 18, 2016 #6
    weird that they all take the same rough shape
  8. Mar 18, 2016 #7


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    No mountain but there is large oil refinery nearby. I used to live a few blocks from the refinery and there were some weird atmospheric effects on occasion. (Along with the explosions and fires every few years.)
  9. Mar 19, 2016 #8


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    well there is a large hill area there on the coast

    gosh, been a few years since my last visit to that area :wink:

    well nothing unusual with that either

    did you take this video ? if you did,

    what direction were you facing ?
    what is on the ground directly below the cloud formation area ?

  10. Mar 21, 2016 #9
    Clouds forming and disappearing? Happens every day. There appear to be trees below the clouds. This could be due to evapotranspiration, combined with temperature changes. Without more context, its just guessing.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2016
  11. Mar 21, 2016 #10


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    Well, the video is elapsed, which is why it looks like the cloud is appearing and disappearing almost immediately. If we all sat there to watch it happen, it definitely would not look like that. We probably would not have even noticed.
  12. Mar 21, 2016 #11
    It's a cumulus type cloud, so it's being produced by warm air rising, probably from some heat source on the ground since the position is fairly constant.
    There are hundreds of possible heat sources on the ground, a small forest fire or a factory chimney are two obvious ones.
  13. Mar 22, 2016 #12
    These tend to happen sometimes I catch them forming visually it is just a single cloud that materializes then dissipates over and over. Yes you can see it happen even with real time. I sped it up to show how many times it continues. There isnt any factory over that area and if this is normal why dont we see clouds doing it right before our eyes. It would look pretty crazy seeing all the clouds doing this over and over. I stopped filming because it kept going.
  14. Mar 22, 2016 #13
    Another mystery is the way it stayed in one place while other clouds kept moving. Ive seen this a couple times before and they tend to stay put when doing this. Why would the temperature in the air cause this to happen to just that cloud meanwhile the clouds around act normal and move along normally? Just wondering if anyone could bring some scientific facts of why.
  15. Mar 22, 2016 #14
    No mountains and it actually did this about 13 times i caught on camera about 5
  16. Mar 22, 2016 #15
    Ive seen these while other clouds are right around a cloud doing this. Qhy wouldn't the other clouds follow suit?
  17. Mar 22, 2016 #16
    Nowhere near that one you refer to i used to live down the street from that refinery
  18. Mar 22, 2016 #17
    So you're saying that clouds do that normally? That would look pretty peculiar because even I sped the video up it changed continuously. Imagine clouds acting like that all at once on a cloudy day people would definitely take notice as they disappear and reappear.
  19. Mar 22, 2016 #18
    I did and it was north but ive also seen them while over city's like LA and while driving south over LA count areas
  20. Mar 22, 2016 #19
    Cumulus type clouds usually do move with the general direction of the wind, taking along with them the uprising thermals which feed them.
    A well established cumulus cloud is a self sustaining system so long as some amount of warm air is available at a low level to sustain it.
    In this case the system is not self sustaining, it starts up then stops, then starts again in the same place , so it must have been produced by a localized hot spot on the ground, or as somebody said, an unusual wind circulation setup produced by local landscape features such as nearby hills
  21. Mar 22, 2016 #20
    No with out elapsed time it changed immediately continuous. I sped ot up trying to show how many times it happened. It kept happening too actually my camera stopped taping memory ran out.
  22. Mar 22, 2016 #21
    No hills nearby but I like your answer the best.
  23. Mar 22, 2016 #22


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    I'm a stormchaser .... I spend lots of hours looking at clouds, their types and their motions

    seriously, what you have shown isn't unusual, have seen it a zillion times

    this comment from rootone really does describe the process well

  24. Mar 22, 2016 #23
    That still doesn't explain anything so you've seen it.. I wanted a scientific explanation. Because clouds aren't supposed to do that normally cloulds have a function they're up there for a reason. What's the reason for that?
  25. Mar 22, 2016 #24


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    That is an exceedingly odd question given that you said you just SAW it right before you eyes.
  26. Mar 22, 2016 #25


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    Well, whatever you just saw is still pretty normal, which others have addressed already.

    So how long was the complete tape (without speeding it up), out of curiosity??
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