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Applied Optics

Applied Optics

APPLICATIONS-CENTERED RESEARCH IN OPTICS

  • Vol. 44, Iss. 27 — Sep. 20, 2005
  • pp: 5684–5687

Halos in cirrus clouds: why are classic displays so rare?

Kenneth Sassen  »View Author Affiliations


Applied Optics, Vol. 44, Issue 27, pp. 5684-5687 (2005)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/AO.44.005684


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Abstract

Upper tropospheric cirrus clouds consist of hexagonal ice crystals, which geometrical ray-tracing-theory predicts should regularly produce a variety of optical phenomena such as vivid 22° and 46° halos. Yet, cirrus inconsistently generate such optical displays, while a class of more exotic displays are reported, albeit rarely. I review current knowledge of the cirrus cloud microphysical factors that control ice crystal shape, and hence halo/arc formation, but also appeal to halo enthusiasts to help investigate the causes of unusually complex, brilliant, or rare optical displays. Currently, a wealth of meteorological information can be tapped from the Internet to help advance our knowledge of the basic meteorological factors leading to these rare events.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

History
Original Manuscript: January 11, 2005
Revised Manuscript: April 5, 2005
Manuscript Accepted: April 5, 2005
Published: September 20, 2005

Citation
Kenneth Sassen, "Halos in cirrus clouds: why are classic displays so rare?," Appl. Opt. 44, 5684-5687 (2005)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/ao/abstract.cfm?URI=ao-44-27-5684

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