Viewers spot clouds resembling waves (and yes, they’re real!)

Photo: Tiffany Akee

If you looked up at the sky Tuesday, you might have seen this.

Tiffany Akee snapped a photo of clouds that looked like waves from her backyard in Kapolei. She spotted them at around 1 p.m.

Andrew Uyeda saw them from Pearl Harbor.

You may think the images are altered, but they actually depict a very real phenomenon called Kelvin–Helmholtz.

We see it in Hawaii from time to time.

They’re created when the airspeed above the cloud is faster than the cloud itself. The higher airspeed above “scoops” into the clouds below and what we see are these wave-like clouds.

Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds are a sign of turbulence, triggered by unstable weather. The National Weather Service notes them in its aviation forecast for pilots.

You’ll be more likely to spot them after a storm passes through, or during light (e.g. Kona) winds.

Photo: Andrew Uyeda
Photo: Andrew Uyeda

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