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We covered bizarre cloud formations before,
but there seems to be no end of them... The tsunami-looking fog wave was strange enough, and now these "gateways in
the sky" - circular absence of clouds, with wispy tendrils reaching out
of them...

Punch Hole Clouds may appear as a circular or oval holes in a layer of
supercooled clouds; sometimes they assume a form of a perfect circle and
persist for quite a long time, drifting together with the cloud layer.
One explanation seems to blame the air traffic (the jet contrail
intersections) combined with a thermal inversion (a circular motion of a
rising warm air). Here is one, observed over the Gunnison Valley in

(image credit: Cuerling)

Another strange hole in the cloud, reported from Mobile, Alabama USA, Dec. 2003
(and covered by BBC

(images credit: Joel Knain and Weatherlings)

Photo taken in Melbourne, Australia in 2003:

(images via)

It seems both rising and sinking air currents can create the same effect.
Sometimes a very stable, uniform layer of high-altitude clouds can get
"punched though" by a pocket of cold air, which sinks toward the ground -
creating the circular hole formation.

(image credit: Neil Johnson(The Tampa Tribune) and Gwen Swinburne)

These "cloud holes" can look like the footprints of some celestial being (UFO
enthusiasts rejoice!) or can be amazingly round, like this pair observed
in Gallatin, Tennessee by Wayne Carter:

(image credit: Wayne Carter)

NASA takes satellite images of this phenomenon

NASA Terra satellite equipped with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) has captured these images
over Acadiana area in southern Louisiana - a splattering of round holes
actually stretched over several states: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana,
and Texas. Some were elongated, some appeared to have smaller clouds
inside them.

"This strange phenomenon resulted from a combination of cold temperatures, air traffic, and perhaps unusual
atmospheric stability. The cloud blanket on January 29 consisted of
supercooled clouds. Supercooled clouds contain water droplets that
remain liquid even though the temperature is well below freezing, and
such clouds are not unusual. As aircraft from the Dallas-Fort Worth
airport passed through these clouds, tiny particles in the exhaust came
into contact with the supercooled water droplets, which froze instantly.
The larger ice crystals fell out of the cloud deck, leaving behind the
“holes,” while the tiniest ice particles in the center remained aloft." (source)

(images credit: Jeff Schmaltz, NASA)

Cloud Vortices: another "holey" sky phenomena

Theodore von Karman's "Cloud Vortices" are something else, again: they form when the wind encounters a barrier -
such as the Aleutian islands, in this case - and the flowing eddies of
cloud create a weird pattern. The image you see below was photographed
from the International Space Station, and the animation shows the double
row of vortices, which rotate opposite from each other.

(image credit: NASA)

(image credit: Cesareo de la Rosa Siqueira, via)

More Incredible and Fascinating Clouds

...that make our sky worthy to look at from time to time (those who only look at the computer
monitor, take note). Here is an extremely strong thunderstorm cloud
that brewed over northwest Calgary:

(images credit: D'Arcy Norman)

Another supercell cloud in Alberta skies, this time over Edmonton:

(image credit: Greg)


(image credit: Cloud Appreciation Society)

Another cloud "wave", similar to the one over South Dakota Badlands (see here):

(image credit: Barry Slade)

Roll clouds... get into a small plane and start "surfing" them! -

(image credit: Russell White)

(image credit: Dan Bush)

A Cloud Angel -

(sent in by Dave)

Two light-sabers get crossed in the sky:

(image credit: Olga Olgert)

A fire-breathing rabbit-dragon, and a fantastic cloud edge:

(original unknown)

A "genie", coming out of a bottle:

(image credit: Raoul Pop)

Spectacular lenticulars in the morning light... and a whole "pancake" stack of
them, over at Mount Rainier in Washington:

(image credit: Arco Images, Alamy, National Geographic)


(image via)

An interesting rainbow effect:

(original unknown)

Nacreous clouds - good page about them, with lots of info:

(image credit: Atmospheric Optics)

Prepare to get squashed, Earthlings! -

(image credit: Sam LeBarron)

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Comment by Haley McMaken on April 15, 2010 at 18:52
love them thanks; clouds are my favorite
Comment by Cozmikat on February 23, 2010 at 21:24
A wondrous collection! I wasn't aware that there have been many punch hole clouds. Some clouds are so strange it's hard to accept they're completely natural.
Comment by sagenhoney on February 23, 2010 at 5:47
Definitely some new ones....pretty neat.
Comment by Lisa Brown on February 23, 2010 at 3:32
Vary cool
Comment by drago kulic on February 23, 2010 at 2:16
Comment by christine patorov on February 22, 2010 at 20:02
cool really great info and pics
Comment by sheena ann baker on February 22, 2010 at 12:55
Thank you, very interesting
Comment by Illumination OV Admin on February 22, 2010 at 3:55
Wow! I thoroughly enjoyed these. Thanks very much for posting.
Comment by Donna Harcos on February 21, 2010 at 19:21
Awesome Christopher: Very interesting to see all the differnt types of clouds we may see but don't know that they actually have a name. Thank you for putting it together for us all.
Comment by Louise on February 21, 2010 at 14:49
Woah! these photos are fabulous! Thanks for posting them for me to see. I'm still laughing about the Fire Breathing Rabbit Dragon, what a contradiction in our ususal terms (I'll never look at my rabbit the same.) The Cloud Angel appears as a Phoenix to me, a flexing, rebirthing one at that...and so it is.

Anne, regarding spaceships cloaked and appearing as clouds, I am fully able to say I have seen them, but as it happened, I FELT them first. My heart went ka-pow and next I accepted what I knew, so I knew what I saw. I video'd one in Alberta, Canada. I have seen many in Perth, Australia and one in Wyoming, USA as well. Fleets often appear after Lightworkers have gathered or before as preparation.

As to the reasons NASA is prepared to give about the circular formations, well, it's a bit like saying the bent wheat stalk caused the crop circle. Sure measurement reveal some data, but that data is just representing what was happening in parallel at the time. The supercooled air exists at the same time as the visual site appears, yet it's not even logical OR scientific for them to say that the existence of one explains the existence of the other. Going back to crop circles as a reference point, radiation exists there, but alone, this is not going to bend a wheat stalk. It's the unseen that causes the effect, so too with these clouds. What can be measured is simply what else is occuring at the time. Of course, a fantastic cloud formation, if formed by an unseen presence of power it may also have some other physical effects.

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