New Images: Haleakala Clouds
The Heleakala summit, at more than 10,000 feet high, is above the inversion layer separating lower maritime air from upper atmospheric air. On my previous visit to the crater, I always found myself above the clouds, in clear air.
Last May, I arrived in Maui as storms were moving in and out. There were unusual high-altitude clouds as well. This created some of the most dynamic cloudscapes that I’ve ever seeen. It was fascinating watching the changing light on clouds below and above.
One minute, you wouldn’t see anything from the crater rim, the next, a hole in the clouds would reveal part of the crater as if it just had been created.
At one point, an opening between the low altitude clouds and the high altitude clouds was large enough to see the summit of Mauna Kea, which lies on the Big Island of Hawaii.