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Clouds and Fogs

Altocumulus clouds over Brisbane

Altocumulus clouds Brisbane

In an earlier Blog entitled “A Day at the Beach – a Cloud Spotter’s Joy” I waxed lyrical about the joys of looking up regularly to enjoy God’s screen saver. I followed this advice last Friday morning on my way to fill the car and saw a sky crammed full of the most amazing clouds.

This blog shares my Friday morning experience. The occasion also prompted me to rifle through our photo files for other spectacular cloud experiences. I include a couple of outstanding cloud examples from a trip Judy and I did to the Blue Mountains in 2007.

Brisbane Clouds

The sky was almost completely covered with small soft pillows of middle level clouds (Altocumulus Floccus). On getting home (location 1) I rushed for the camera as the sky was changing rapidly. There was variation in the density and alignment of the cloud shapes across the sky and in some areas the cloudlets were arranged in a more or less linear fashion (Altocumulus Floccus Undulatus).

As I looked south west there was a small patch where the clouds changed to elongated lines (Stratiformis) joining patches of Altocumulus Floccus cloudlets. The lines themselves had faint transverse lines (Undulatus) – hence the classification of these elongated clouds is Altostratus Stratiformis Undulatus.

During the day I took photos from other locations (near Mt Coot Tha – Location 2) that show variations in the formations and cloud types with time. Eventually the Altocumulus was overshadowed by lines of Stratocumulus clouds.

Location 1

Cloudscape 1 – shows a large area of fairly uniform Altocumulus Floccus clouds with the cloudlet margins so soft that they appear unfocused.

Cloudscape 2 – shows the Altostratus Stratiformis Undulatus clouds.


Location 2

Cloudscape 3  – looks to the north east and shows a mixture of clouds. The upper right there is a bank of Altocumulus clouds which thins out in the middle of the frame with the cloudlets being elongated by winds. Some cloudlets have developed tails. Moving down the frame is a diagonal line of Altostratus at the same elevation showing some signs of breaks (Undulatus) and at the bottom of the frame is a bank of solid, lower level Altostratus.

Cloudscape 4 – looking overhead and slightly to the east. The Alltostratus Floccus cloudlets are being stretched by winds and begining to show a linnear arrangement.

Blue Mountains Clouds and Fogs

In 2007 Judy and I spent a pleasant week at Echo Point, Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. One morning we woke to discover a fog so dense that we couldn’t see the buildings across the road. We quickly dressed, grabbed our cameras and headed for the nearby lookout over the Jamison Valley and the Three Sisters. It was a case of the clouds coming down to meet us and provided great photographic opportunities. I have included a shot of Judy showing the density of the fog at the lookout and another of tree ferns looking ethereal in the soft light.


The Jamison Valley, the Three Sisters and Mount Solitary were all lost in the fog of a low Stratus cloud. The upper cloud lifted gradually exposing the Three Sisters and Mount Solitary, but the Jamison Valley remained in cloud for some hours later. It was like the view of clouds from a high flying aircraft. As the fog lifted from the Three Sisters a fog rainbow appeared at the base of the Sister closest to Echo Point (very faint blue and magenta colours). The shots below show the gradual emergence of the Three Sisters and for comparison there is one of a cloudless Jamison Valley, the Three Sisters and Mount solitary to give an idea of the depth of the Stratus cloud filling the valley.


Cirrus clouds were a common sight on this trip and two stand out. The first was a fairly rare optical effect (Iridescence) in a mixture of Cirrostratus and Altostratus clouds. This effect took the form of a corona of faint blue and magenta colours radiating outwards from the sun. The second was a Cirrostratus cloud formation arranged in radiated lines which converged to the horizon (Cirrostratus Radiatus). The blue of the sky and the faint gold of an approaching sunset were lovely contrasts for this formation.

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