Rare clouds over Northumberland

Nacreous clouds over Alnwick photographed by Jane Coltman
Nacreous clouds over Alnwick photographed by Jane Coltman

Northumberland residents were treated to a colourful display when they opened their curtains this morning.

The display was due to Polar stratospheric clouds or PSCs, also known as nacreous clouds, caught on camera here by our photographer Jane Coltman, looking from Alnwick towards the coast.

Nacreous clouds over Alnwick photographed by Jane Coltman

Nacreous clouds over Alnwick photographed by Jane Coltman

According to the Met Office, Nacreous clouds form in the lower stratosphere over polar regions when the sun is just below the horizon. The clouds are illuminated from below and often glow in vivid colours and will often remain visible for a couple of hours after sunset and through the night as they are lit by moonlight. Nacreous clouds form below -78 °C temperatures and so are most likely to occur during the polar winter.

But there is a dark side to them as well - according to the Australian Antarctic division, nacreous clouds are a major contributing factor in the formation of ozone holes in the Arctic and Antarctic.

If you saw them we would love to see your pictures too.

Nacreous clouds over Alnwick photographed by Jane Coltman

Nacreous clouds over Alnwick photographed by Jane Coltman