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Rare ‘rainbow clouds’ spotted in UK skies | UK News

Rare “rainbow clouds” have been spotted in skies above the UK.

A number of people across the country have been treated to views of the colourful nacreous clouds this week.

Lindsay Mackenna took some pictures of the natural phenomenon above Edinburgh on Tuesday night, describing the iridescent clouds as “gorgeous”.

Rainbow clouds/nacreous clouds. Pic: Lindsay Mackenna
The colourful clouds pictured in Edinburgh. Pic: Lindsay Mackenna

Sky News weather presenter Jo Wheeler explained the clouds are relatively rare due to the very specific conditions needed for them to appear.

The meteorologist said: “The cloud must be thin and contain numerous water droplets or ice crystals of about the same size.

“These iridescent clouds are also known as fire rainbows or rainbow clouds and occur when sunlight diffracts off the water droplets/ice crystals.

“When the drops are more spherical than teardrop shaped, the conditions are right for rainbow clouds to appear.”

Rare Nacreous clouds, known as rainbow clouds, form in the skies off the coast of Tynemouth in the north east of England
The rare clouds off the coast of Tynemouth

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UK weather: The latest Sky News forecast

The clouds often appear alongside thunderstorms, mostly in the late afternoon on hot and humid days.

Jo added: “They form on top of fair weather clouds as they bubble upwards, causing the air to expand and cool.

“Occasionally moisture in the air suddenly condenses into tiny droplets – the source of the phenomenon.

“They’re not seen often and even less frequently photographed.”

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This notice was published: 2023-12-21 10:30:00

By Sky News

Sky News is a British 24-hour information television channel, the first in Europe of its kind, launched on February 5, 1989 by the British Sky Broadcasting Company.

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