Norwegian word of the day: Perlemorskyer

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Norwegian word of the day: Perlemorskyer
Caption Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash / Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

The Norwegian winter is a great time to keep an eye on the sky, not just at night to see the Northern Lights but also during the day to watch the pearlescent clouds.


What are Perlemorskyer? 

Perlemorskyer is a compound of perlemor and skyer, which is used to describe pearlescent things. 

Pearlescent is a colour that reflects white light with an intensity depending on the angle from which you watch it. The name is drawn from mother-of-pearl, which is a composite material produced by some molluscs and pearls, which also has the same light-refracting effect. 

Skyer is the plural form of clouds in Norwegian. It is derived from the Old Norse ský.

Put together, the world can be translated to Nacre clouds, polar stratospheric clouds, mother-of-pearl clouds or pearlescent clouds. 

They are formed in the winter at heights of 25,000–30,000 meters and are twice as high as some other clouds. 


The clouds are formed when atmospheric temperatures are very low. 

Det er perlemorskyer ute. Er de ikke fine?

There is polar stratospheric clouds outside. Aren’t they nice?

Jeg håper jeg får sett perlemorskyer i vinter!

I hope I will get to see polar stratospheric clouds this winter!



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