Colourless clouds?

This time it’s cirrus

I saw colours in it too, which one does not see in natural cloud material.

So sayeth Clare, when trying to argue that some cirrus clouds she saw on the 18th of October were, in fact, human-manufactured ‘aerosol material’.

Now, I’m not sure when refraction and iridescence stopped working in Clare’s universe, but the effect of sunlight passing through clouds and creating various colours is well-understood, often observed, and perfectly natural

A google image search reveals dozens of pictures of this phenomenon.

It’s also helpfully pointed out that the clouds in question are, in fact, normally-occurring cirrus. Surely a quick squizz at the satellite picture for that day (also provided to Clare) would certainly suggest that this is the case…

lots and lots of cirrus

Given the length and breadth of the cloud system — stretching from north of Northland, to (at least) the coast off the Wairarapa — you’d think that had this been a human operation, that it would have taken many many planes to have laid down this ‘aerosol material’. Clare saw these clouds in the morning, so, logically, the planes doing the ‘spraying’ must have been operating throughout the early hours of that day (between midnight and 6am) to have achieved that level of coverage.

So, where did these planes come from? Where did they land? Did anyone see or hear them? Can you take-off and land that many planes in NZ airspace at that time of the night and early morning without alerting someone, somewhere that something strange is going on?

Apparently so!

How high are you?

Steven Clougher, over at MysteriousNZ, in regards to the cruising altitude of NZ domestic flights, states that…

When on internal flights, around 27,000ft is common
36,000ft for international flights, as I recall

Is this true, I wonder? (Surely it is, after all, Steven is on record as being vehemently against conjecture). How about a quick check on Flightradar.com to find the altitude of planes over NZ airspace at the moment?

It lists one domestic flight – AirNZ Flight 526 from Christchurch to Auckland. Its altitude…?

36975ft.

Click to embiggen

And actually, as I write, I can watch Jetstar flight 261 from Auckland to Wellington (the plane just south of Waiuku in the image above) climbing out of AKL to a height of … 30000ft (as it gets close to passing over New Plymouth).

But, hey, don’t let reality get in the way of your assumptions, eh?