Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mackerel Sky

Last week my friend Renee told me her Grandmother always said the weather would change when we see a Mackerel Sky. I had never heard that  before.


On Sunday the 5th, I stared up at a Mackerel Sky
Mackerel sky
is a popular term for a sky covered with extensive cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds arranged in somewhat regular waves and showing blue sky in the gaps. The pattern resembles the scales on a mackerel, thus, the name. In Germany and France they are known as 'sheep cloud', as their pattern resembles a flock of sheep, also they are sometimes called buttermilk sky in the UK


Above is a shot through our trees of the sky the day before.

Mackerel sky, mackerel sky - never long wet, never long dry
Mare's tails and mackerel scales make lofty ships take in their sails

Is there a true weather fact supporting this? Oh, yes there is. Small, white and fluffy cirrocumulus clouds typically consist of ice crystals and form at altitudes around 6,000 to 10,000m (18,000 t o 30,000ft). They often form well ahead of depressions and their associated fronts. Mackerel skies and mares' tails describe forms of cirrocumulus and twisted sheaves of cirrus respectively implying strong high-level winds.




Renee's grandmother was right. to read more about the specific changes go to  WeatherOnLineUK  photo below from WeatherOn Line

If you know how to read these skies, you can predict what the weather will do. I leave it to those of you who wish to read the info to click on the link above

18 comments:

Lucy said...

I think it's interesting at how smart people were hundreds of years ago about nature and what it all means. How they went thousands of miles on the sea just by watching the sky. The North Star is just a miracle to me and proof that nothing on this earth is accidental. It was all figured out nicely and for purposes. Incredible. Beautiful photos. I so love the sky.

Snapper II said...

I sure hope those Mackerel clouds signal cooler weather is on the way.
Great blog, very informative

Anonymous said...

Great pictures and educational... I had heard the expression but never understood. Thanks for the info.
Carole

srp said...

I guess you could say the weather changed... it has been just a tad cooler and just a tad less humid. But we've really no rain in sight this week and I thought we might have. These skies were here as well.

Madeline said...

I have never heard of a Mackerel Sky. This is news to me and very interesting. This is how people of old figured out the weather. They knew how to read the natural signs. They did not need all of the millon/billion dollar equipment we have today, to forecast the weather. They had God given skills...

S. Etole said...

I've been seeing skies like that but had never heard the expression.

George said...

Thanks for the education. I wasn't familiar with Mackerel skies before this.

Ginny said...

No, they're all wrong, including the experts!! I want to start a heated debate!! Well, they do look a bit like fish scales, but I've not heard this one, it's so interesting. Our whole family called them Buttermilk clouds, and would you BELIEVE it, I have a post with pictures to do, this very same thing, only calling them BUTTERMILK clouds!!!! Guess when I do mine, I will direct my followers here for the other side of the story. I did not know about the ice crystal part, but may use your link for my upcoming research!! The big double swipe!!

Krista said...

Gorgeous Pictures! I love clouds... never heard that called a mackerel sky before though. :o) So now I learned something... can I go back to bed??? hehe

mamabug said...

Very interesting info about the clouds and weather. Really enjoyed this post; guess I better start looking up more to see what these clouds are trying to tell us!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh what an interesting post. I love studying the weather and learning about all of the old weather customs... I mostly deal with nature signs --predicting what will happen here in winter...

I've never heard of the mackerel skies before---but it's so neat.... I may read further about this... Now my question is: Did your weather CHANGE after seeing the mackerel skies????

Reminded me of the 'red sky at night, sailor's delight; red sky in morning, sailor's take warning' quote... Remember that one.

I love things about the weather --so this post got me really excited... Thanks!!!
Hugs,
Betsy

SquirrelQueen said...

Your Mackerel skies are beautiful. That is the name I have always heard them called and they do forecast a change in the weather. We had them just over a week ago, they were ahead of a cold front that moved through shortly thereafter.

Tipper said...

So interesting! I don't think I've ever heard of a mackerel sky before.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Isn't this interesting ! I didn't know any of this, so thank you for the enlightenment.
It's a really pretty photo, and yes it does resemble the scales of Mackerel ;)

Scott said...

I know when the weather is going to change when some of my friends start complaining of their aches and pains in their joints. Now I'll start watching the Mackerel sky too.

Judy said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again:
I always learn something from you!

As for predicting the weather,
my joints are pretty effective prognosticators!

DawnTreader said...

I don't think I ever heard the expression Mackerel clouds and can't say I'd feel sure how to "interpret" this kind of sky either.

Sunny said...

Holy Mackerel! What lovely pictures.
My Grandmother used to say, "Mackerel sky, never long wet and never long dry!"
☼ Sunny