Weather phenomenon: Spectacular cloud inspires people in Turkey

Some recognize an eye in the pink cloud, for others it looks like a UFO.

Weather phenomenon: Spectacular cloud inspires people in Turkey

Some recognize an eye in the pink cloud, for others it looks like a UFO. One thing is clear: Most people have never seen a cloud like the one in Bursa, Turkey, and are accordingly surprised at the photos.

Although the cloud looks like it's from another planet - or how poorly inserted by image editing - Photoshop or extraterrestrial forces weren't at work here. Instead, meteorologists have a very simple and unspectacular explanation for the unusual cloud formation.

According to the Washington Post, the so-called "lens clouds" should form primarily in areas in which there are stratified environments or in which the atmosphere is stratified for other reasons and in which obstacles on the ground disrupt the flow of air masses. This is the case in Bursa: the Turkish town is located at the foothills of the more than 8,000 meter high Uludağ mountain.

At this location, the Uludağ functions as a kind of spoiler for the air masses over Bursa: while the upper layers of air move normally and parallel to the ground, the foothills of the Uludağ push the near-ground, moisture-saturated air upwards, where it then cools and forms a cloud forms. The combination of upper layers of air and winds blowing through from below creates the spectacular cloud formation.

Such cloud formations are common in the western United States, for example, where the humid air over the Pacific meets the mountain ranges of the Rocky Mountains. There was a similar photo here in northern California in 2020, which also inspired many people.

In the case of the cloud in Bursa, adding the right time of day made the cloud look even more impressive at sunset.

Sources: Washington Post, BBC

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