|Sphere image enhanced in Luminee|
“And the answer is… it’s probably nothing.”
? right….. – Terran
This Strange ‘Spherical’ Cloud Appeared In The Sky Over Japan
October 11, 2020 Science
Bizarre pictures setting out of Japan last week show what appears to be an extraordinarily spherical cloud hovering over the town of Fujisawa, just south of Tokyo.
According to reports from the photographer, the cloud began to lose its shape as soon because it was photographed, then rapidly faded into the sky as if it never existed.
“When I looked out of the window I saw a round ball-shaped cloud. I gazed at the cloud for ages then I rushed to require the photo, after I saw the cloud it had been an excellent more spherical shape, so I regret not taking the photo more quickly.” Twitter user @pmxpvrtmx(Poppy) told the local Japanese news outlet, Rocket News 24.
While the photographs shot at Shonandai station on Sunday afternoon haven’t been independently verified, this can be not the primary time a fluffy cloud ball has been spotted in recent years.
The images below, captured by Twitter user @NicoSpqy9ba9 (Nico) in 2015, show an analogous phenomenon elsewhere in Japan.
Some have suggested that the spherical cloud of Fujisawa is really a roll cloud- a rare kind of low, horizontal cloud formation that typically appears as a result of cold fronts, and is often related to thunderstorms. As you’ll see during this footage of roll cloud, they’re incredibly cool in their own right:
But roll clouds are distinctly cylindrical and never round, so our cloud ball must be something else. Another Fujisawa local claims to possess photographed the sphere, and as you’ll be able to see, it doesn’t look nearly so round from another perspective:
As an atmospheric scientist, Todd Lane from the University in Melbourne, Australia says, this may well be the most effective clue we’ve in determining what this cloud could actually be.
And the answer is… it’s probably nothing.
“While I can’t verify the origin of this image, or whether it had been even of the identical cloud, it appears that the cloud only appeared spherical from one direction, that is, the photographer was lucky to be within the right place to capture a stimulating image of what’s likely an uninteresting cloud. it’s to me to be some type of cumulus fractus cloud” Lane told ScienceAlert.
For those of you who aren’t up with their cloud types, cumulus fractus clouds are low-hanging, fragmentary clouds that are usually small bits that are cleaved off the perimeters of larger clouds by strong winds. which means they often look stretched or shredded, just like the second perspective of the choice perspective above.
If that’s quite a let-down, there’s always the more ‘creative’ explanation that the spherical cloud was first spotted in north Wales four days earlier, and somehow made its thanks to Japan..? (It didn’t).
This entirely unrelated ‘fog dome’ was photographed in Tremeirchion, north Wales, in step with the BBC, and while it’d look as nicely spherical because the Japanese cloud, they’re entirely different phenomena.
“This could be a very unusual phenomenon, but the foremost likely explanation is that the ‘fog dome’ has been caused by a source of warmth near the bottom, possibly an agricultural building or a comparatively warm pool of water, because the fog has formed within the valley, this heat source has forced the fog to lift removed from the bottom into a dome as warmer air rises; sort of a hot air balloon.” UK Met Office and BBC Weather Centre Forecaster John West told the BBC.
Terran note: England does have some unusual atmospherics, given its wet cool climate. I’ve seen clouds no more than 5 feet across float 10 feet above country roads near Bristol England in the late hours of the day, but it was very close to the Irish sea where the air is very saturated. I don’t think the Japan sphere is local atmospherics as the Sun is very high up in the sky. This is not a morning or evening related weather phenomenon.