PHOTOS: Ripples in the clouds

MADISON, Wis. — Did you take a look outside Tuesday and notice the clouds were a tad unusual?

These clouds are formed when winds are parallel to a stable layer of air where the air is very close to saturation.

A small disturbance can cause the air to fluctuate up and down, like the ripples on a pond. When the air rises, it cools, saturates and causes clouds to form. When it sinks, it warms a little, and the clouds dissipate.

Clouds such as these are not typically seen at lower altitude, as the formations are more often found at higher altitudes. It’s more common near the mountains where winds flowing over the mountains create the turbulence that causes the horizontal winds to ripple in the vicinity of where the air is close to saturation where clouds can begin to form.