The Rainbow Raincloud: Incredible event appears like a multicolored halo over the Chinese city

The Rainbow Raincloud: Incredible natural phenomenon looms over the Chinese city like a multicolored halo

  • The very rare “rainbow shawl cloud” dazzles and stuns residents of southern China
  • Phenomenon was captured over Haikou in Hainan Island on August 21
  • Caused by a “shawl” cloud that forms at the right time in the evening to refract the sunlight

A spectacular and infinitely rare “rainbow shawl cloud” dazzled residents of China as it briefly loomed on the horizon during sunset.

The colorful cloud is said to have left locals baffled by its surreal appearance after it was spotted hanging low in the sky.

The unique phenomenon was captured on August 21 over the Chinese city of Haikou on the southern island of Hainan.

A video posted to Twitter showed a dark, bulbous cloud topped by a hard-to-believe rainbow crown of cyan, with fiery oranges, yellows, and greens lining the edges.

The nine-second clip has since gone viral with over 28 million views and more than 15,000 likes. It also received over 4,000 retweets.

“These are certainly some very striking images,” Matthew Box, senior operational meteorologist, told MailOnline.

A spectacular and infinitely rare

A spectacular and infinitely rare “rainbow shawl cloud” dazzled residents of China as it briefly loomed on the horizon during sunset

“The footage shows a cumulus cloud (or shawl cloud) surrounding a darker cumulus cloud,” he said, adding, “You might expect to see some optical phenomena since you have ice crystals in the air (the cumulus cloud) and the sun.” almost on the horizon.’

Pileus clouds are companion clouds that usually form in association with cumulus or cumulonimbus clouds (where there are strong updrafts), and because pileus clouds form high in the atmosphere, they are made up of ice crystals.

“The low sun appears to catch and be refracted by these ice crystals, allowing the observer on the ground to see a range of rainbow colors.”

However, he warned that the cumulus seemed almost “too bright” and that the footage could have been “tampered with”.

The phenomenon was the result of the cumulus cloud – sometimes known as the “cap cloud” or “shawl cloud” – forming at just the right time of the evening to produce a “cloud iridescence” or rainbow cloud.

The unique phenomenon was captured on August 21 over the Chinese city of Haikou on the southern island of Hainan

The unique phenomenon was captured on August 21 over the Chinese city of Haikou on the southern island of Hainan

A video posted to Twitter showed a dark, bulbous cloud topped by a hard-to-believe rainbow crown of turquoise blue and fiery oranges, yellows, and greens around the edges

A video posted to Twitter showed a dark, bulbous cloud topped by a hard-to-believe rainbow crown of turquoise blue and fiery oranges, yellows, and greens around the edges

The rapidly rising hot air of a cumulus cloud pushes against the cold air above, creating a smooth “scarf” effect as moisture condenses right along the top of the updraft.

The ice crystals and droplets in the shell portion of the cloud then break up the sunlight when it hits it at just the right angle, creating the incredible rainbow effect.

The clouds must be very thin and consist of ice crystals or water droplets of uniform size.

Pileus clouds are usually short-lived and are eventually absorbed by convection by the growing cloud below.

Pileus clouds don’t always have bright colors like those in the video, and Haikou residents were treated to a striking example hanging low in the sky.

The rapidly rising hot air of a cumulus cloud pushes against the cold air above, creating a smooth

The rapidly rising hot air of a cumulus cloud pushes against the cold air above, creating a smooth “scarf” effect as moisture condenses right along the top of the updraft

The ice crystals and droplets in the shell portion of the cloud then break up the sunlight when it hits it at just the right angle, creating the incredible rainbow effect

The ice crystals and droplets in the shell portion of the cloud then break up the sunlight when it hits it at just the right angle, creating the incredible rainbow effect

They are considered indicators of impending severe weather, but can also form over mountains, flammagenitus clouds from volcanic eruptions, and other types of ash clouds.

The beautiful sight could therefore bode badly for Hainan Island as the mainland has experienced its worst heat wave and drought since records began in 1961.

China has recently experienced an unprecedented heatwave and drought that has caused parts of the Yangtze to dry up and temperatures in the west of the country have hit 40C for weeks.

The heatwave erupted earlier in the week, followed by days of torrential rain in the sprawling manufacturing hub of Chongqing and surrounding areas of Sichuan province.

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https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11159965/The-rainbow-rain-cloud-Incredible-occurrence-looms-Chinese-city-like-multi-coloured-halo.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 The Rainbow Raincloud: Incredible event appears like a multicolored halo over the Chinese city

Bradford Betz

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