Noctilucent Clouds – ( Night Clouds )
Reading time: 5 min
In this article, we will look at what are noctilucent clouds and how do they form and what weather do noctilucent clouds bring?
Noctilucent Clouds Definition
Very thin clouds composed of water ice crystals that are located in the Mesosphere layer at an altitude of 75 to 90 km above the Earth’s surface are called noctilucent clouds. (also know as mesospheric clouds or night clouds)
- The height of these clouds: 75 to 90 km above the Earth’s surface.
- The shape of these clouds: They are similar to cirrus clouds
- Precipitation: None
Noctilucent clouds Description
Noctilucent clouds, which are usually bluish or silver in color, are very rare clouds that are normally visible in the twilight in midsummer when the sun is below the horizon and the earth’s surface and troposphere are in darkness.
These clouds begin to appear when the sun is 6 degrees below the observer horizon, and they are easily visible when the sun is 10 degrees below the observer horizon and finally These clouds begin to disappear when the sun is 16 degrees below the observer horizon.
In general, these clouds are seen in latitudes between 55 and 65 degrees northern and southern hemispheres, but due to population and land density in the northern hemisphere, these clouds are mainly seen in the northern hemisphere.
What weather is associated with Noctilucent clouds?
As we explained in the Earth Atmosphere Structure lesson, almost all atmospheric changes such as the formation of clouds, storms, rainfall, etc. occur in the troposphere layer therefore, these types of clouds can not affect the Earth’s climate due to their great distance from the Earth’s surface and their absence in the troposphere layer.
How Noctilucent clouds are formed?
Clouds need very low temperatures, dust, and water vapor to form. Noctilucent clouds also need these conditions to form. In the mesosphere layer, low temperatures are easily attainable. Dust in this layer can be provided by meteorite impact with the Earth’s atmosphere or dust from volcanic activity and man-made pollutants. Moisture can also be provided by the chemical reaction of methane and other chemicals in this layer.
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