Give us a wave! Rare cloud formation which looks like a repeating wave pattern appears over skies of England
- The rare shape, known as a Kelvin-Helmholtz cloud, was spotted in Norfolk
- Pattern is named after two physicists who studied turbulent airflow
A rare wave-shaped cloud formation has been captured over the skies of England.
Joy Patrick noticed what’s known as a Kelvin-Helmholtz cloud hovering in the sky above Trimingham, Norfolk on Sunday evening.
According to the Met Office, Kelvin-Helmholtz is one of the rarest cloud types, occurring when two different layers of air are moving at different speeds.
This causes winds to blow faster at the upper level than at the lower levels.
The result is the appearance of a repeating breaking wave pattern, formed similarly to waves over the sea, which are created when the wind blows faster than the water moves.
A wave shaped cloud formation, known as a Kelvin-Helmholtz cloud, was spotted in the sky over Trimingham in Norfolk last Sunday evening
The rare phenomenon, also known as a billow cloud, is named after physicists Hermann von Helmholtz and William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, who both studied turbulent airflow.
Kelvin-Helmholtz instability doesn’t occur exclusively in clouds or even on earth.
A notable case is Jupiter’s red spot, with other examples occurring on Saturn and in the sun’s atmosphere.
They have also been the source of artistic inspiration.
Billow clouds were said to be depicted by Van Gogh in his famous painting ‘Starry Night’.
Joy was lucky enough to capture the event from her window.
She said: ‘It really was fleeting. I was walking into my bedroom to close the windows and curtains and saw the cloud.
‘I took the photo, went into the bedroom and when I came out it had totally disappeared.
‘It was magical, I feel very privileged to have witnessed it.’