Morning Sun With Mackerel Clouds

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License: Creative Commons - Attribution
Author: garlandcannon
"A mackerel sky is a common term for a sky with rows of cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds displaying an undulating, rippling pattern similar in appearance to fish scales;[1][2] this is caused by high altitude atmospheric waves.[3] Cirrocumulus appears almost exclusively with cirrus some way ahead of a warm front and is a reliable forecaster that the weather is about to change.[4] When these high clouds progressively invade the sky and the barometric pressure begins to fall, precipitation associated with the disturbance is likely about 6 to 12 hours away. A thickening and lowering of cirrocumulus into middle-étage altostratus or altocumulus is a good sign the warm front or low has moved closer and it may start raining within less than six hours.[5] The old rhymes "Mackerel sky, not twenty-four hours dry"[3] and "Mares' tails and mackerel scales make lofty ships to carry low sails"[6] both refer to this long-recognized phenomenon. Other phrases in weather lore take mackerel skies as a sign of changeable weather. Examples include "Mackerel sky, mackerel sky. Never long wet and never long dry", and "A dappled sky, like a painted woman, soon changes its face".[4] It is sometimes known as a buttermilk sky, particularly when in the early cirrocumulus stage, in reference to the clouds' "curdled" appearance.[7] In France it is sometimes called a ciel moutonné (fleecy sky); and in Spain a cielo empedrado (cobbled sky);[8] in Germany it is known as Schäfchenwolken (sheep clouds), and in Italy the clouds are known as a pecorelle (little sheep)." wikipedia


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