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Hole-punch cloud over Massachusetts

Hole-punch clouds are sometimes called fallstreak holes. They are often-circular patches of clear sky, surrounded by clouds. Airplanes create them.

View larger. | Patricia Evans captured this hole-punch cloud on November 21, 2015.  She wrote:

View larger. | Hole-punch cloud. Photo by Patricia Evans.”

Patricia Evans captured this hole-punch cloud on yesterday (November 21, 2015). She wrote:

I spotted this rare hole-punch cloud this afternoon from the parking lot of a restaurant in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. Since I always carry my camera with me, I was able to take this shot! This is only the second punch hole cloud I’ve ever seen. The first one was just a few miles away from this spot five years ago… in 2010!

Canon SX50HS – ISO 80 f/4.5 1/1000 sec.

Thank you, Patricia!

By the way, these strange-looking clouds are caused by a sky containing small water droplets that are below freezing called supercooled water droplets.

If ice crystals can form in a layer of supercooled droplets, they’ll grow rapidly and shrink or possibly evaporate the droplets completely. Studies have shown that aircraft passing through these cloud layers can trigger the formation of the heavier ice crystals, which fall to Earth and then leave the circular void in the blanket of clouds.

Read more: Hole-punch clouds are made by jets

Deborah Byrd

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