From NASA’s Terra satellite, an image of fallstreak holes in clouds over the southern United States
High above the clouds. What happened to these clouds?
Today is World Meteorology Day, so we’re high up in the atmosphere, above the clouds, for a satellite view of fallstreak holes. These gaps in the clouds are sometimes called hole-punch clouds. The holes form when supercooled water droplets (created when the temperature of a liquid or a gas goes below its freezing point without it becoming a solid) suddenly freeze - often when a plane flies through the cloud - and then fall. This leaves an opening in the formation as a result. Scientists are still gaining new insights on how fallstreak holes form and behave.