Noctilucent clouds still bright and abundant, setting records at the highest latitudes


Noctilucent clouds are still bright and abundant 2 months after the start of the 2021 northern hemisphere season (May/June – August), and at the highest latitudes they are setting records, Dr. Tony Phillips of SpaceWeather.com noted in his latest NLC update.

"We're seeing more clouds at 80°N than in any other year since AIM was launched [in 2007]," says Cora Randall of the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Research. "Cloud frequencies at 80°N are around 85%, whereas it's more typical to see frequencies of about 75%."

Frequencies' are a measure of patchiness. 100% is complete coverage; 0% is no clouds at all.

A major outbreak of noctilucent clouds (NLCs) was reported over Europe in mid-June, including France, Spain, Germany, and it seems another such event could happen before the end of the season.

The clouds were first observed over countries inside the Arctic Circle but toward the middle of the month, they suddenly spread out towards mid-latitude regions and have been spotted over Paris, Madrid, Berlin, and other European capitals.

NLCs over these latitudes are considered rare as these clouds are typically seen over higher latitudes.

Read more: NLC seasons getting longer, clouds moving farther south (The Watchers – June 5, 2021)

Our NLC's archive is here.

Featured image credit: NASA/AIM


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