Cloud Identification
February 12, 2018 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Any guesses on what this (1, 2) cloud formation or weather phenomenon is? See especially the detail photo of the base of the cloud, which looks like a bunch of stacked lenticular clouds.

Photos were taken this morning in Somerville MA, 9:00am, 12 Feb 2018, directly SW ('bottom') to NE ('top'). Temps in the low 40s (F)

Most incoming flights to BOS were ESE at the time, but it doesn't look like contrails or aircraft dissipation clouds I usually see.
posted by cocoagirl to Science & Nature (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure what caused that feature but it looks like it was visible over New Jersey just after sunrise and translated northeastward as the morning progressed. Take a look at the GOES-16 "true color" image here and you can see the distinct linear feature that I think is shown in your photos. You can scroll back and forth through time using the button below the image and can switch what bands you are looking at on the left. Note that the animation is set for the last 96 images, so look soon or the time period you are interested in will fall off.
posted by plastic_animals at 11:22 AM on February 12, 2018

Just a guess:
posted by exogenous at 1:47 PM on February 12, 2018

Best answer: I don't know, but I just moved from that area and I'm a bit of a weather nerd and still follow the two best local meteorologists: Eric Fisher and Dave Epstein. They often answer questions about "what is this weather phenomenon" on Twitter. I think it's a good bet that you could ask them.
posted by Cygnet at 4:03 PM on February 12, 2018

Looks a bit like a chinook. Was there a dramatic change in temperature to go with it, like 10 degrees warmer?
posted by furtive at 10:23 PM on February 12, 2018

When I looked yesterday at the sounding charts, there was an inversion in the area at the time. I suspect this plus the westerly winds blowing over the high terrain to the west caused a bit of a mountain wave to produce the undulating clouds that could be seen in the satellite images and that the photos capture about a half wavelength of that.
posted by exogenous at 5:28 AM on February 13, 2018

Response by poster: Interesting. The mountain wave/chinook theory depends on the wave form having maintained coherence from the Appalachians I think. The skies were variable and confused otherwise, though, so I'm a little skeptical. That could be my proximity to the ocean, though. There was also no big temperature variation: 43-46 degrees most of the day. I think it was an arcus of some sort given the satellite imagery plastic_animals linked to. I'll ask the meteorologists Cygnet links to and report back with anything new.
posted by cocoagirl at 8:14 AM on February 13, 2018

Response by poster: Well, the verdict seems to be aircraft dissipation.
posted by cocoagirl at 11:50 AM on February 14, 2018

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