Cirrus Aviaticus

Above: Cirrus Aviaticus

Cirrus Aviaticus

If you want to observe the cirrus clouds from below, the skies should be relatively clear. This is because they are normally formed above the other clouds – actually in the upper troposphere. Cirrus clouds in actual sense are visible formation of ice cubes and which is held up against the gravity by the air pressure. Basically, clouds are classified according to their composition, appearance, shape and their height above the surface of the earth. Apart from this, sometimes they are named according to the effect they have on the surrounding weather and a perfect example of these types of clouds is the cirrus aviaticus.

What are cirrus aviaticus clouds?

Also referred to as vapor trail or contrail, cirrus aviaticus are a cloud formation that come about as a result of pressure and changes in temperature that is caused by the jet aircraft engine’s exhaust matter in the surroundings.  These types of clouds normally dissipate as fast as they are formed, though they can remain visible for sometime. Under the right atmospheric conditions, they can spread widely and occupy large areas in the sky.

What height are cirrus aviaticus clouds?

As with all other types of cirrus clouds, cirrus aviaticus clouds usually form at 16 000 feet above the ground level.

How are cirrus aviaticus clouds formed?

Depending on how humid the air is, these clouds are basically formed on high altitudes. For it to form, the facilitating atmospheric conditions have to be right; the temperature, pressure and humidity. These enabling conditions can only be met at very high altitudes.

How common are cirrus aviaticus clouds?

As long as jet planes are passing over an area and the atmospheric conditions are right, these clouds will always be formed. Their formation is a world wide phenomenon. Basically, the higher a jet plane is from the earth’s surface, the higher the chances of their formation. Why? As a general rule, cirrus clouds are formed at great heights, normally at 16 000 feet above the sea level.  At this altitude the surrounding temperatures range from minus 20 to minus 30 degrees Celsius and as such, all types of cirrus clouds predominantly comprise of varied sizes and shapes of ice cubes

Cirrus aviaticus streaked appearance come about as a result of the movement of the winds at high altitudes. The tendril-like pattern they sometimes assume, occur as a result of the resultant ice crystals accruing additional water vapor causing it to become heavier until the pressure holding them together becomes too unbearable. As result, the ice crystals start to fall from their high altitudes creating a tendril-like display but they tend to melt and evaporate before reaching the ground level.

Characteristics of cirrus aviaticus clouds

  • These occur everywhere in the world.
  • As they are formed very high in the skies, they are a type of cirrus clouds.
  • They are formed at altitudes of more than 16 000 feet above the ground.
  • They are formed as a result of jet planes engine and their exhaust matter.
  • They are not rain carrying clouds.
  • They appear as long parallel bands.

Back to Top