Strange Clouds: Any SD Meteorologists?

I wish I could provide a picture, but I wasn’t able to grab my camera. However, it’s easy to describe for you: Last June, on the US-Canda border, I saw a row of clouds, in a wave pattern, looking like a row of ten gallon hats! I WAG it could have been the profile (or edgewise view) of a stratocumulous undulatus pattern? Usually, we see this common wavy pattern from the ground looking up at its underbelly.

It was kinda like looking at a theatre curtain from the edge…like an exaggerted sine wave pattern. Also, if it means anything, this was beneath a cirrus Kelvin-Helmhotz wave (a wave pattern looking like dolphins jumping in and out of the water). The two patterns were parallel to each other.

Even in more detailed weather books, I have not found a mention of this most unusual cloud formation! So, I thought maybe those SDopers interested in meteorology might be able to give me some feedback.

Very strange and cool sight to see!

  • Jinx

Another cloudform caused by shear instability (like Kelvin-Hemholtz waves) are billows clouds. Not sure if that’s what you saw, and I don’t have a picture to link to, but it’s on pg. 231 of Wallace & Hobbs.

kinda-sorta-maybe cowboy hats.

Billow clouds

Maybe this is what you were describing being above it?

Here’s a much better picture.

Lamar, the pictures you provide are of clouds perhaps closely related to what I saw. You are certainly in the right ballpark.

However, the cloud formation I saw was a solo row of “ten gallon hats” with a flat, gray bottom. And, the row of “hats” were like humps on a camel. In other words, the humps were very, very clearly defined. The tops did not curl over like the top of an ice cream sundae…such as in the photos you provide.

Also, for clarity, I should mention the Kelvin-Helmholtz wave apparently has two forms. The billow clouds is one form, but this is not what I refer to in my OP. A different form is whispy, cirrus clouds looking just like a row of dolphins diving in and out of the water. I’ll try to find a link to such a photo…

Thanks, Lamar…good try! Feel free to post anything else you might find. We’ll keep at it! - Jinx

Lamar, what is the title of this book? Maybe I can find it at a local public or college library. Thanks! - Jinx

Atmospheric Science

It’s a standard meteorology textbook. A college would certainly have a copy.

Lamar, thanks for the book title. I’ll go look for it, but we’re digging out from the big East Coast snowstorm. It’ll be a little while, so I’ll keep you posted!

And, Lamar, you probably already know what a K-H wave cloud formation looks like, but for clarity and for the general audience, I have provided this link. This isn’t the best photo of the cirrus K-H wave, but I’ll keep hunting for a better link:

For clarity, the other type of H-K wave is defined in my book as one type of Orographic class of cloud fomrations. These orographic clouds are formed by air masses forced to rise due to changes in land elevation, such as near or over a mountain.

While I was not immediately near a mountain at Calais, ME and St. Stephens, NB…but, some mountains lay to my SE along ME’s rugged coast and to the W-NW such as in Baxter State Park…perhaps to Mother Nature, these mountains are close enough to push air masses upwards - perhaps moving in off the Atlantic Ocean and fickle Bay of Fundy. - Jinx