Abstract

Observations and model simulations of cumulus clouds whose bases are tinted red when the Sun is well above the horizon are presented. Conditions for seeing red bases include (1) a red underlying surface (which may consist of dust clouds, as from haboobs) with high albedo, (2) small fractional cloud cover when the Sun is far enough below the zenith for direct sunlight to illuminate much of the surface directly below and around cloud base, (3) optically thick clouds so that the bases are dark, and (4) clouds with bases that are near enough to the observer to appear high in the sky so that the admixture of scattered light from the intervening atmosphere is minimized.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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