There is not one but many mesmerizing phenomena in nature that can take our breath away. But have you ever seen an Iridescent Pileus Cloud?
Iridescent Pileus Cloud Spotted in China
A unique phenomenon showing colourful iridescence formed on a pileus cloud appeared in Puning City in South China’s Guangdong Province. At first glance it looks like a rainbow, but it’s actually a cloud!
The colourful cloud was annex to huge cumulus cloud. The spectacular colours of this phenomenon were further enhanced by the picturesque setting of Puning City.
Pileus, sometimes called cap cloud or scarf cloud, are smooth clouds that form stop a growing cumulus or cumulonimbus cloud.
What is Iridescent Pileus Cloud?
Iridescent Pileus Cloud are caused by particularly tiny ice crystals or water droplets in the air. Larger ice crystals produce lunar or solar halos, but tiny ice crystals or water droplets cause light to be diffracted – spread out – creating this rainbow-like effect in the clouds.
Pileus Clouds are often short-lived, with the main cloud beneath them rising through convection to absorb them. They are formed by strong updraft at lower altitudes, acting upon moist air above, causing the air to cool to its dew point.
The clouds must be very thin and made of ice crystals or water droplets of uniform size. So, Iridescence Cloud usually happens in lenticular or alto-cumulus, cirrus and cirrocumulus clouds.