Extraordinary weather phenomenon: cloud balls

In some countries of the world, amazing cloud balls have been photographed in recent years. Looking like clouds from comics or cartoons, are these formations really possible?

The most spectacular of all the cloud balls photographed are those (apparently) observed in Japan in 2016: the pictures had then gone around the world, without ever being able to prove that they were real, and not modified at the time. using photo editing software. This sphere with almost perfect contours was observed by only one witness, hence the doubts about its veracity.

But, a few years later, in 2019, a very similar cloud was caught on camera in Reykjavik, Iceland:

By doing research on social networks, it is possible to find other (rare) photos of similar clouds, mainly in Japan. Surprisingly, there is a priori no photo taken of this phenomenon in the country where the hunters of storms and clouds of all kinds are the most numerous, the United States.

Some species of clouds can have a spherical appearance

If it is possible to doubt the reality of the phenomenon, some types of cloud can still have a fairly rounded shape. The cloud balls can, a priori, be part of three types of clouds:

  • Lenticulars: these wave clouds are formed by the action of the wind on the relief, very often between the sea and the mountains. Lenticular clouds can approach completely crazy shapes, very often in “plates” or “flying saucers”. These clouds are very common in Iceland, sometimes with spectacular shapes. Their outlines are well delineated and have no frayed appearance, which does not really look like the photos of ball clouds.
  • Cumulus clouds: these clouds are among the most common. They are generally observed in good weather, or during slightly unstable conditions. They are also known as “cauliflower clouds” due to their fluffy, puffy appearance. Some of them may come in quite a round shape, but the appearance is not smooth as seen in the photos of netizens.
  • Rolling clouds: roll clouds or morning glory as they are called in Australia are very well drawn long tubes. They can sometimes be cut into pieces, so as to resemble, from afar, the cloud balls photographed in Japan and Iceland. The rollers also circulate very low, at 100 or 200 meters above sea level, which also seems to be the case with the cloudy balls. Some meteorologists therefore believe that the cloud balls, if they really exist, would in fact be roller clouds, or a very close type of cloud.
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While waiting for new photos that would prove the reality of this rather strange weather phenomenon, the mystery of the cloud balls remains intact.



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