Iridescent Clouds (Southern Colorado, Sept 28, 2015)

FromFacebookSupposedlyOne of those “cool clouds” days… ;-)   My camera (just a cheapo pocket Nikon CoolPix S5200) sucks at nighttime photography, so I don’t have photos of the lovely Lunar Eclipse (last night).

The first three photos shown below I took from between Crestone and the Great Sand Dunes NP in Southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley, @ around 8,200 ft. altitude, earlier today, Sept 28, 2015:

DSCN7704On this next photo you can see the phenomenon’s location in relation to the sunset:

DSCN7708Because the pink and the turquoise stood out the most, it did not really look like a normal rainbow-like refraction.  It lasted perhaps about a half hour.

This is about as colorful as it got:

DSCN7713I don’t know about you, but *I* didn’t grow up seeing these kinds of clouds on a fairly regular basis.  Now, granted, I grew up in Belgium, not above 8,000 feet in the Colorado Rockies.  Yet, there’s people that grew up around here that claim these kind of ‘weird clouds’ are far more common here now too, compared to a decade or so ago.

Some say it’s because of all the stuff airplanes put in the sky, so-called ‘chemtrails‘.   I still think that what many chemtrail spotters call ‘chemtrails’ are just contrails. (For an example of what passes for normal in many high-air-trafic areas, see also my posts Arrival Aerials and Skies and Skies over Belgium, both from 2012.  The reason ‘contrails’ are so common now (so much that they can make a sunny day ‘partly clouded’) is simple (or at least so I fathom): AIR TRAFFIC.

For a clue as to how much air traffic there is these days, check http://www.flightradar24.com.  A snapshot of what was in the air this evening (@ 6:19pm MD) over Colorado, Utah, and also showing most of Kansas:

AirTrafficSnapshot_EveningMondaySept28_2015_ColoradoAndSurroundingsThat, of course, doesn’t mean that some airplanes aren’t spraying something.  I don’t know.

Personally, yet again revealing “my little obsession” and the possible bias that comes with that, I’m more inclined to wonder whether or not radioactive fallout, including more particles and gasses at higher altitude, could be a factor in making this colorful phenomenon occur more often. (?)

So this evening, I read a bit on the mainstream understanding of these kinds of ‘mother-of-pearl’ clouds.  Nowhere is it suggested that something else than just tiny ice crystals higher up may be a factor:

Cloud iridescence is the occurrence of colors in a cloud similar to those seen in oil films on puddles, and is similar to irisation. It is a fairly uncommon phenomenon, most often observed in altocumulus, cirrocumulus, lenticular clouds and cirrus clouds. The colors are usually pastel, but can be very vivid. Iridescence is generally produced near the sun, with the sun’s glare masking it, so it is more easily seen by hiding the sun behind a tree or building. Other aids are dark glasses, or observing the sky reflected in a convex mirror or in a pool of water.

Iridescent clouds are a diffraction phenomenon caused by small water droplets or small ice crystals individually scattering light. Larger ice crystals produce halos.

If parts of clouds have small droplets or crystals of similar size, their cumulative effect is seen as colors. The cloud must be optically thin, so that most rays encounter only a single droplet. Iridescence is therefore mostly seen at cloud edges or in semi-transparent clouds, and newly forming clouds produce the brightest and most colorful iridescence […]”

More:

Instagram | @morales2chelo_ #ElcieloExtraño #escazuCostaRica

SOURCE: via USA Today:  Instagram | @morales2chelo_
#ElcieloExtraño #escazuCostaRica Original: video by Storyful / Ariel Joseph Petit

Iridescent cloud seen by EarthSky G+ friend Dave Walker on April 17, 2013. View larger. He wrote, “Through gaps in the fast moving lower clouds I spotted these beautifully coloured high clouds as the sun headed for the horizon. Added a little vibrance and contrast enhancement but otherwise the colors here are as I saw them.” @ https://earthsky.org/earth/i-saw-a-cloud-with-rainbow-colors-what-causes-it

Iridescent cloud seen by EarthSky G+ friend Dave Walker on April 17, 2013.  He wrote, “Through gaps in the fast moving lower clouds I spotted these beautifully coloured high clouds as the sun headed for the horizon. Added a little vibrance and contrast enhancement but otherwise the colors here are as I saw them.”  CLICK image for more at SOURCE: @ https://earthsky.org/earth/i-saw-a-cloud-with-rainbow-colors-what-causes-it

Turns out the reason for colorful Polar Stratospheric Clouds is nitric and sulphuric acid bonding with water vapor to form crystaline hydrates. (see page 109 and after in Stratospheric Ozone Depletion and Climate Change, which I stumbled upon when wondering if there were any reports of more colorful clouds after the massive atmospheric  nuclear bomb tests of the early 1960s).   I glanced at some data of the radioactive sulphur released by Fukushima

I pondered the claim by chemtrail activists that “they’re spraying mainly Barium.”  Stable Barium isotopes (Ba-134, Ba-137, Ba-138,…) are also the decay products of radioCesium, a main part of any nuclear fallout, from a nuclear bomb or ‘accident’.  Cs-134 becomes Ba-134; Cs-142 becomes Ba-142, which eventually becomes Ba-138; The most common radioactive fallout ingredient, Cesium-137, decays into Barium-137.

Since radioCesiums are deposited or blowing around anywhere downwind from nuclear bomb tests, as well as downwind Chernobyl, Fukushima, etc., you’re bound to find the element Barium if you test water or soils for it.   And given the massive amounts sent into the atmosphere by the ongoing Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear catastrophe, it’s not unlikely that the stratospheric dust layer was supplied a fair amount of radioCesium, which would result in trace amounts slowly making their way down to lower layers into the troposphere and eventually ground level.  My skepticism about some of the elements of the chemtrail conspiracy boil down to this: Just because it falls from the sky does not mean an airplane put it there…   (I would even go further: What if the chemtrail cospiracy were promoted to distract from what may really be going one and keep the topic in the fringes?)

Well, I don’t know…    So many factors that would need to be looked at…  Maybe someday when I have more time for this, I’ll look into it a bit more.  But it is my personal impression that cloud irridescence, as well as mammatus clouds, occur far more often than they did in previous decades.   I suspect nuclear polution might be a contributing factor, but I have no proof of that.

Regardless…

pretty colors…

Sept28_2015CLouds— — — — — — —   — — — — — — —   — — — — — — —

Disclaimer +

(This post was edited updated on Sept. 29, 2015)

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8 Responses to Iridescent Clouds (Southern Colorado, Sept 28, 2015)

  1. hadia says:

    Michael you should worry about these clouds and by God you have already done so much good research. so why being that shy regarding the chemtrail issue? It is NOT a conspiracy theory, too many facts already being proved. And the sky did not ever look like that before. Wether in Europe or Asia or elsewhere on the moon…(sarc) With all the wonderfull pictures you have showed us – concerning the iridescent clouds, you better do worry, Michael. Even as a non scientist I would be very concerned, and we got that red burning sky (long long after sunset) nearly every day now over Germany. It IS NOT NORMAL, people, wake up.
    Keep on shooting pictures and I keep on worrying…(smile).

  2. MVB says:

    I’m concerned every now and then, but I don’t even see the point in worrying just because… Because something looks unusual? Really? That’s all it takes? I’m concerned about all the fallout as well as its stable end producs coming down, and all kinds of pollution and land use issues, etc., and all the contrails are part of that.

    I’m not being “shy regarding the chemtrail issue”. I’ve looked into it a bit and come across an enormous amount of hype, and for the people I’ve met who’re REALLY into it (where literally EVERY contrail is a “chemtrail”), it’s like a religion, like global warming, and can’t be questioned. It’s like some people just started looking at the sky for the first time…

    But nevertheless, there are lots of aspects and angles to both the rampant contrail issues, as well as the various documented chemtrail issues. Some “proof” is rather pathetic, though, imo. Anyways…

    Here’s some George Carlin:

  3. hadia says:

    Thanks Michael, that´s another view to look at things – though not bad. I really enjoyed watching it and wonder how people can live that much on the surface. Anyway very good one. merci.

  4. quepongayopaz says:

    I agree! It’s amazing
    how frequently and how many of such clouds we see in,the Dallas area. At least two per day. Weather change? Different pollution?

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