UK Treated To Natural Polar Phenomenon
Natural phenomena usually occur in their most majestic form in the Polar Regions. There are the Northern Lights, which travellers go in search of for a once-in-a-lifetime light show; there’s the Midnight Sun, which brings 24-hour daylight to the Arctic Circle every summer; and there are even noctilucent clouds which were in the news last year.
However, it is rare that such occurrences can be seen from the UK, but that is exactly what has been happening over the last week. Nacreous clouds, as they are known, have been appearing over Britain during the twilight hours at dawn and dusk, bringing the sky to life with a spectrum of bright colours. It is thought that the recent storms forced moisture upwards into the stratosphere, where it then freezes and forms ice crystals. The sun’s rays, particularly during times when it is low in the sky, then pass through these crystals from below and are refracted into multi-coloured light.
Seen as far south as Norwich, witnesses even confused these rare clouds for the Aurora Borealis, going as far as to contact AuroraWatch UK to inform them of the sightings. Whilst still being a beautiful sight, the nacreous clouds are, however, unrelated to this phenomenon.
They are not such a pleasant sight to everyone though, with scientists claiming they can be big causes of damage to the ozone layer. The ice crystals that are created are said to create a chemical reaction when they come into contact with the ozone layer, producing gases such as chlorine that are very detrimental to its ability to protect us from the sun’s UV rays.
If you want to see these kaleidoscopic clouds for yourself, weather forecasts suggest that they may be visible until Saturday. At this point, the polar vortex will move further north to where it should be at this time of year and the freezing temperatures needed to make the ice crystals will no longer be present.