A sky-watcher in Wyoming captured breathtaking images of a rare cloud formation that resembled ocean waves drifting across the horizon. Rachel Gordon, a resident of Wyoming, took these photos from her parents’ back door and later shared them on the Wyoming via The Lens Facebook page, where they quickly garnered attention.
The community of Sheridan, Wyoming, witnessed this extraordinary meteorological event known as the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability over the Big Horn Mountains. This phenomenon occurs when two layers of air are moving at different speeds, creating a wave-like appearance in the clouds. Named after scientists Hermann von Helmholtz and Lord Kelvin, these clouds, also referred to as fluctus clouds, are believed to have inspired artworks like Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”
Matt Taylor of BBC Weather explained that the beauty of Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds lies in their clear demonstration of the atmosphere’s dynamics. They show how the air moves and reacts to its surroundings, similar to ocean waves, where the air is essentially rising and tumbling over.