World’s Strangest

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Hole-Punch Clouds

P. Wesley Tyler, Jr. captured this spooky image. What you’re looking at a hole-punch cloud:

Hole-punch clouds are miniature snowstorms that can occur in thin, subfreezing cloud layers.

The lack of fine particles, such as dust, in the clouds means water droplets have little to condense around, so they don’t turn to ice until the cloud hits about minus 38 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 36 degrees Celsius).

“Basically, the water molecules become sluggish enough at this temperature to form their own cluster of ice that produces an ice crystal spontaneously,” according to ice microphysicist Andrew Heymsfield.

Link via Super Punch

Previously: Butterfly Hole-Punch Clouds

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January 31st, 2011

Stranger to the World


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