Rarely Seen Cloud Formations There seems to be no end to strange cloud formations! From Punch hole clouds to cloud vortices, enjoy these rarely seen cloud formations!
Punch Hole Clouds may appear as a circular or oval holes in a layer of supercooled clouds; sometimes they assume a form of a perfect circle and persist for quite a long time, drifting together with the cloud layer. One explanation seems to blame the air traffic (the jet contrail intersections) combined with a thermal inversion (a circular motion of a rising warm air). Here is one, observed over the Gunnison Valley in Colorado:
Another strange hole in the cloud, reported from Mobile, Alabama USA, Dec. 2003 (and covered by BBC Photo taken in Melbourne, Australia in 2003
It seems both rising and sinking air currents can create the same effect. Sometimes a very stable, uniform layer of high-altitude clouds can get "punched though" by a pocket of cold air, which sinks toward the ground - creating the circular hole formation These "cloud holes" can look like the footprints of some celestial being (UFO enthusiasts rejoice!) or can be amazingly round, like this pair observed in Gallatin, Tennessee by Wayne Carter