Friday, June 15, 2012

“Mackerel” Clouds

In the past, my descriptions of clouds would be white, puffy, cottony, cotton candy—do you see a pattern here? What I’ve learned over the last few weeks is that there are all types of clouds and many are not so puffy.

Cirrocumulus floccus
Cirrocumulus are high altitude, cold weather clouds that contain snow or ice. They are actually tiny puff clouds, sometimes referred to as cloudlets. Often cirrocumulus clouds are called “mackerel” clouds because of their resemblance to the scales of a fish. Cirrocumulus clouds never cast self-shadows and are translucent to a certain degree. A cloud without a shadow? Interesting.
Cirrocumulus clouds tend to reflect the red and yellow colours during a sunset and sunrise, and thus they have been referred to as "one of the most beautiful clouds". This occurs because they reflect the unscattered rays of light from the early morning or evening sun, and those rays are yellow, orange, and red.

Today’s writing prompt:
 Alan reached for Sue’s hand as he pointed toward the setting sun. “See the cirrocumulus clouds?”
Sue’s smile turned to a frown. “Yes. But what’s that coming through…

For more on these clouds and others, check out the following links:


  1. I've seen this type of cloud, but never knew it's name. I like the idea of using "mackerel clouds" in my writing.

  2. I thought it was cool that these clouds were "see through"...