BLOG: What’s a Circumhorizontal Arc (aka ‘Rainbow Cloud’)?

Weather Blog

BLOG: What’s a Circumhorizontal Arc (aka ‘Rainbow Cloud’)?

In case you missed it, during our 6 p.m. newscast on Sunday, I took you on a deep dive into what a circumhorizontal arc is and how one is formed.

Check out the clip:

What is this called?

Notice the way it moved across the cloud. Not sure if this is some kind of sun dog.

Originally tweeted by Will App (@willapperson) on January 17, 2021

The refraction, or spreading out of light, is what’s key. When the sun is at the right angle in the sky and we have the correct type of clouds present, they can be seen. They usually develop in cirrus clouds since they are made of ice crystals.

How the light refracts

The important part in the development of an arc is the high angle of the sun. It’s difficult in the winter since the sun is typically so low in the sky, but during the middle of the day, if the conditions are right, they can be seen.

Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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