Mackerel Skys before HAARP and......


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scalar_2012_max mogren.jpg
(copyright 2012, Max Mogren)

I also noticed strange repeating wave patterns in the sky, and started to wonder why I'd never seen old photographs or paintings depicting clouds like that. Surely someone like the landscape photographer Ansel Adams or any of history's famous painters would have been impressed by cloud formations like this, and somebody would have incorporated these skyscapes into their artwork. How could these clouds be natural if they were only a recent phenomenon?

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Let's find some paintings (and photos)...

Albert Bierstadt, Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California, 1865, oil on canvas, Birmingham Museum of Art, Gift of the Birmingham Public Library

Albert Bierstadt, Evening, Owens Lake, California
1860's (?)

Spring Motif - Mikalojus Ciurlionis, 1908

Fuji, Mountains in clear Weather (Red Fuji) - Katsushika Hokusai, 1831

Winslow Homer (1836-1910), Song of the Lark (also known as In the Field)

Frank Johnston, "The Fire Ranger", 1920

Also to keep in mind, that many (most) of the landscape painters would not put every detail in every cloud. The sky was often painted with a look of ease, naturalness, and a conservation of effort.....reducing clouds to as few brush-strokes as possible. (the paintings above are more detailed....... is what I could find in 1 hour on-line).)
So what may have been Altocumulus stratiformis, or Cirrocumulus....would become a field of color with a few suggested cloud tips/edges (perhaps with a pattern, or "flow")
The "detail" in a typical landscape painting is reserved for the foreground.


Early color photograph, 1930's (Library of Congress)

[between 1940 and 1946]

More early photos....
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Senior Member.
Perhaps he is trying to say this image from 1898 doesn't exist.

It's from "Classification of clouds for the guidance of observers" published by Dept of Agriculture Weather Bureau 1898. 1738236-clouds4.jpg


Senior Member.
I guess checking Wikipedia was not done either

Mackerel skies are spoken of in the popular bywords, "Mackerel in the sky, three days dry," "Mackerel sky, mackerel sky. Never long wet and never long dry," and the nautical weather rhyme, "Mare's tails and mackerel scales / Make tall ships carry low sails." The phrase mackerel sky came from the fact that it looks similar to the markings of an adult king mackerel.

In popular culture
  • Hoagy Carmichael wrote the song "Oh, Buttermilk Sky".
  • In the film "Plenty", mackerel sky is mentioned and shown.
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