Red Clouds and Hurricane Leslie

November 20, 2018

Strange red clouds (1)

Photographer: Jose Fernández Arozena
Summary Authors: Jose Fernández Arozena; Jim Foster

The strange, clay-colored clouds shown above were observed from Santa Cruz de La Palma in the Canary Islands (Spain) on October 7, 2018. They were seen near sunset while we waited to see if Hurricane Leslie, one of the longest-lived tropical systems on record in the Atlantic Ocean, would reach the Canary Islands. It seems these clouds are a form of altocumulus (asperitas) wave cloud.

Leslie pulled in water vapor from the south and east of the Canary's as it approached. The prevailing winds here at this time of year are typically from the north-northeast. So perhaps the odd color of these clouds can be attributed to the presence of atmospheric particulates, including Saharan dust, ushered in from the southeast. Note that Leslie veered north of the Canaries, eventually reaching Portugal.

Photo Details: Camera: SONY ILCA-68; Software: Adobe Photoshop CS6 (Windows); Exposure Time: 0.0063s (1/160); Aperture: ƒ/13.0; ISO equivalent: 500; Focal Length (35mm): 105.