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The Kelvin Helmholtz clouds are a result of a phenomenon known as the KelvinHelmholtz instability.

The Kelvin-Helmholtz instability occurs when there is a velocity gradient on the interface between two liquids. As we continue to learn more about turbulence, we get a better understanding how turbulent fluids work. In turbulent flow, there are eddies that contribute to its chaotic nature, which can be seen in the K-H clouds. The eddies in the K-H clouds form when a less dense portion of the air exists over a layer of more dense air and the wind shear across the two layers is strong enough. The way the clouds are in a wave shape not only show the beauty of fluid mechanics, but just the beauty of nature. However, this beauty is not so beautiful for aircraft, since it indicates the presence of turbulence. The presence of these clouds indicate instability in the atmosphere where different layers of air form due to the varying densities. The layers of air at higher speeds (top) come down and the make the hill seen in the pictures. The curls are a result of the formation of eddies. The structure of these clouds reminded me of the structure of fractals. Both are chaotic and symmetrically beautiful (evenly spaced) with fundamental equations governing them. A simulation of the Kelvin-Helmholtz stability shows how eddies form and combine to form bigger eddies and it continues to do this as the flow progresses. Furthermore, there is slower airflow around the wave hill relative to the environment and hence the pressure is higher in this area. As a closing remark, its interesting to note that in Vincent Van Goghs painting, The Starry Night, there is a depiction of wind flow similar to K-H instability.