Hole Punch Cloud and Fallstreak Over Gold River, California

April 04, 2013


PhotographerJeff Shin
Summary Authors: Jeff Shin; Jim Foster

The photo above shows a classic example of a hole punch cloud and accompanying fallstreaks as observed over Gold River, California on February 2, 2013. I was playing tennis with my girlfriend in the early afternoon when this intriguing gap in the clouds caught my eye. Hole punches are almost always caused by an aircraft passing through a shallow cloud deck. Supercooled water droplets in mid-level clouds perturbed by the tail or wings of an airplane will freeze instantly. This releases the heat of fusion – the resulting latent heat warms the air and evaporates the cloud deck about the entry point. The feathery wisps near the center of the hole are fallstreaks formed by falling ice crystals.

Photo details: Camera Maker: Apple; Camera Model: iPhone 4; Focal Length: 3.9mm (35mm equivalent: 35mm); Digital Zoom: 1.971x; Aperture: f/2.8; Exposure Time: 0.0001 s (1/10055); ISO equiv: 100; Software: 6.1.