Cloud and Contrail Interaction

July 24, 2019


Photographer: Lawrence Green 
Summary Authors: Lawrence Green; Jim Foster

I captured this photo one evening earlier this month from Grover Beach, California, that shows the interaction between a jet contrail and a passing cloud. I was intrigued by the way the cirrus cloud seemed to disrupt the contrail as it drifted past. From my perspective, it looked like the contrail and cloud began to circulate or rotate as one. Cirrus clouds that swallow contrails or contrails that become cirrus are optically thicker than either individually. When either scenario occurs, not only does the existing cirrus thicken but cloud coverage (percentage of overall sky cover) increases as well. Photo taken on July 8, 2019.

Photo Details: Camera: Samsung SM-J737P; Exposure Time: 0.0005s (1/1923); Aperture: ƒ/1.7; ISO equivalent: 40; Focal Length (35mm): 28.