LIFESTYLE

Strange Blue Clouds Have Appeared In Antarctica, Way Sooner Than Expected

More proof that the climate is changing, which is a bad thing.

05/12/2016 12:15 SAST
NASA

Bright electric blue clouds have been spotted lurking in the skies over Antarctica, for the last couple of weeks.

A NASA spacecraft, specifically designed for observing the atmosphere in the Southern hemisphere, noticed that the night-shining cloud season has begun particularly early this year.

In fact, this is the earliest appearance ever on record. 

NASA

The noctilucent, or night-shining clouds are sandwiched some 50 miles above earth, in a layer of the atmosphere called the mesosphere.

The bizarre clouds are made up of fine debris from disintegrating meteors that pass in space, leaving behind a trial of particles that then glow blue when sunlight reflects off them. 

These clouds are normally observed from 16 December onwards - in the summer of the Southern hemisphere - when the mesosphere is humid and cold.

In fact at this time of year the mesosphere registers at a phenomenally chilly minus 210 degrees Fahrenheit. And it is this combination of weather factors that causes the sky to glow blue. 

Scientists say that 2016’s early appearance directly corresponds to earlier seasonal change at lower altitudes – that temperatures on earth are changing.

NASA spends money studying these clouds to better understand the mesosphere, and its connection to atmosphere, weather and climate on our planet.