How do wave clouds form?

July 11, 2008 7:06:21 AM PDT
They're called "wave clouds", and they're formed by the mountains!

Erica's Answer:

One of the ways that clouds form is through a process called "orographic lift". This is when air rises vertically up the side of a mountain, which causes the air to cool. Then, the water condenses out of the air in the form of clouds.

The reason the clouds looked like waves is because the winds at the top of the mountain were strong enough to push the newly-formed clouds over the top of the mountain ridges. As the clouds travel back down the other side of the mountain, some of the moisture evaporates again as the air compresses and warms up a bit. This is why there are little dry spaces in between the waves of clouds. It ends up making a pretty neat image on a satellite view!

- Erica


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