Tsunami-shape wave clouds over Birmingham, Alabama explained (Video)

By on Dec 20, 2011 in Environment, Science, United States Comments

A set of tsunami-shape wave clouds rolled over over Birmingham, Alabama on Friday, December 16, 2011, as shown in the video, with experts providing some explanation.

Tsunami-shape wave clouds over Alabama
Image Credit: ABC33/40 video

According to a report at Alabamawx.com (ABC33/40) that day, the giant wave clouds were seen by local residents in various angles from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, I-65, among others.

Later, people took photos of the wave clouds, with the scientific name of Kelvin-Helmholtz instability, and were submitted to their local weather station while others uploaded videos at YouTube.

Meanwhile, a report at Live Science on Monday featured experts explaining the phenomenon and noted that they can be formed when a fast-moving layer of fluid slides on top of a slower, thicker layer, dragging its surface.

“As seen in the pictures, there is probably a cold layer of air near the ground where the wind speed is probably low,” Chris Walcek, a meteorologist at the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center at the State University of New York, was quoted on the report.

“That is why there is a cloud or fog in that layer. Over this cloudy, cold, slow-moving layer is probably a warmer and faster-moving layer of air.” Walcek added.

Nevertheless, experts said that the Kelvin-Helmholtz waves are not that really rare and are formed when the difference in the temperature and wind speed of the two layers hits a sweet spot.

Kelvin-Helmholtz wave clouds over Birmingham, Alabama
Video Credit: ABC3340/YouTube

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