Gravity wave clouds

Gravity wave clouds

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Credit: JIM REED/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Gravity wave clouds form when a parcel of air is displaced by a mountain or thunderstorm updraft and forced to rise upwards through stable air. The parcel of air will try to find its natural equilibrium, so will sink back down. Each time it moves, the parcel of air overshoots its natural equilibrium and, using its own momentum, will move in the opposite direction. Eventually, the parcel of air will run out of momentum. The upward movement of the parcel of air favours cloud formation, while the downward movement favours clear skies, resulting in the stripy pattern shown. Photographed in South Dakota, USA.

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Keywords: america, american, atmosphere, climate, cloud, cloud types, clouds, formation, gravity wave, meteorological, meteorology, ripples, sky, south dakota, stripy, turbulence, united states, us, usa, weather

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