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I observed these clouds today (november 12, Belgium) and I was wondering if they could be caused by atmospheric gravity waves. How would you spot the difference between gravity waves and a cloud street consisting of cumulus clouds? I am also looking for a corresponding T-logP (Stüve) diagram. Can you see gravity waves in such a diagram? belgianclouds belgianclouds2

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm no expert on such things... I'd think the scale length of gravity waves is larger, and so these may be cloud streets? There's similarities in both: some lift, creating clouds, the rising overshoots stability, then a period of sinking, and back again to unstable and rises again. I think gravity waves are also usually a result of large features (thunderstorms, hurricanes, mountains) creating the big lift, and the orientation angle is along flow vs cross flow. But all those are hazy memories rather than fact, so I wait for someone who knows more to answer, there's some good dynamicists here. $\endgroup$ Nov 12 at 18:28
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    $\begingroup$ Here is the 12Z sounding (about 1 PM) from EDZE. You won't see oscillations of like a gravity wave or cloud streets/convective rolls in a sounding itself, as it's just a single snapshot of a location. It will show you the stability that can cause gravity waves. It's quite stable at lowish levels below a little layer of instability, which seems to make sense. $\endgroup$ Nov 12 at 18:40
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    $\begingroup$ And here is meteosat satellite imagery. Maybe I'm wrong, as there's a cyclone entering Scotland that seems to be bringing the features. I'd tend to think the clouds you see are the first half of the day, but don't know. Whether it's just banding from the cyclone itself, or true gravity waves caused by cyclone deepening, I'm not sure. Also note in your image, you actually have banding in two perpendicular directions it seems like? $\endgroup$ Nov 12 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ Anyways, until I got the time to go back and reresearch gravity waves\cloud streets, I'd feel hesitant to make this an answer. Someone else who is versed on the subjects better, feel free to make use of my imagery to complete your answer (have to get the images quick before they're harder to find) $\endgroup$ Nov 12 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ (With an exact hour and location, we could also pull a model sounding to get an even better representation of your atmosphere if done soon... but I tend to figure the EDZE sounding is reasonable) $\endgroup$ Nov 12 at 18:45

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