Objects in Window are not as they Appear

This seemingly nondescript photograph was taken the morning of 8/29 while at 4500′ in an improvised hold over the Gila River in central Arizona. The view is directed at the 40nm distant Santa Catalina mountains, north of Tucson. Mount Lemmon is the distant peak left of center frame:

Santa Catalina Mountains in the DIstance

On this particular day, a strong low pressure system has been spinning over central California, and is pulling tropical moisture from Baja California over us. Today, the flow aloft is pretty strong, 20+kts out of the southwest, and there’s quite a lot of mid-level moisture around.

Mt. Lemmon is high enough (9157′) that the moist flow is compressing out into a cloud. So, if you look close:

No, it just looks like steam

It almost looks as if there’s volcanic steam blowing downwind from it. Never mind that the last volcanic eruption in Arizona was 900 years ago, and 150mi the opposite direction. I still did a double take out the window.

Man, I must be really bored…

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