Reflection rainbow

From Glossary of Meteorology



reflection rainbow

A rainbow formed by a light source reflected by an extended water surface; not to be confused with a rainbow seen reflected in a still body of water.

When the water is calm, the center of a reflection rainbow is at the same elevation as the sun but in the opposite part of the sky. Such a bow intersects the ordinary rainbow (primary or secondary) at the horizon. When the water is rough (which it often is under the windy conditions in the vicinity of a shower) a family of reflection bows is formed, the envelope of which produces an essentially vertical bow, which intersects the ordinary bow at the horizon.

Humphreys, W. J. 1940. Physics of the Air. 3d ed., . 498–499.


Copyright 2022 American Meteorological Society (AMS). For permission to reuse any portion of this work, please contact permissions@ametsoc.org. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 U.S. Code § 107) or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S.Copyright Act (17 USC § 108) does not require AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a website or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, require written permission or a license from AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy statement.