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Hole-Punch Clouds

By Paperstone on August 17, 2010 in Desktop Essentials

hole-punch cloud


The picture above shows what is known as a hole-punch cloud, this one photographed over Alabama. These clouds have been baffling cloud scientists for years but it has been recently discovered the holes can be caused by airplanes passing nearby which change local atmospheric conditions.

Clouds susceptible to hole-punching occur at specific altitudes and are saturated with water, “so much so that there are few particles and impurities to support ice condensation at normal air temperatures.” The force of a plane’s propellers or a jet’s wings cools the surrounding air, enough so to cause ice formation The clouds are seeded with ice particles that attract nearby water vapour and it eventually rains or snows, clearing an area of the cloud of precipitation and leaving a hole.

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