Seattle sees ‘one of the best’ displays of noctilucent clouds

Noctilucent clouds, or “noctilucent” mesospheric clouds, are the highest clouds in the atmosphere, located 80 km above the Earth.

SEATTLES — Editor’s Note: The above video of noctilucent clouds over Lake Washington was originally broadcast on June 18, 2018.

According to the National Weather Service, early Friday morning Seattle saw “one of the most vivid displays” of the highest clouds in Earth’s atmosphere in years.

Noctilucent clouds, or “noctilucent” mesospheric clouds, are the highest clouds in the atmosphere, located 80 km above the Earth.

The National Weather Service Seattle tweeted the photos below just after 4:15 a.m. Friday, saying, “What a start to July!”

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Noctilucent clouds form when water vapor and methane released into the upper atmosphere by either natural events like volcanic eruptions or artificial sources like spacecraft develop tiny ice cores in the extremely cold and dry environment at the edge of space, according to the National Weather Service.

The clouds are very thin and can only be seen at dusk due to the position of the sun. They occur most frequently in the summer months as global circulations in the middle of the Earth’s atmosphere transport water vapor and methane towards the polar regions.

According to the National Weather Service, noctilucent clouds were first observed in 1885 after the eruption of Krakatoa.

Sightings of the clouds are thought to be increasing due to a change in brightness and visibility due to human activities and climate change. Cloud sightings have also migrated south from their typical 50-degree to 70-degree latitude range.

Download the KING 5 app to check the interactive radar in your area, as well as the latest forecasts, cameras and current conditions.

https://www.king5.com/article/weather/weather-blog/seattle-noctilucent-clouds-early-friday/281-a66f6f5a-30e9-4be3-b88f-8abd25646d42 Seattle sees ‘one of the best’ displays of noctilucent clouds

Alley Einstein

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