We know that mirages occur in the desert or on highway and many of us have seen them ourselves. But I had never seen the effect reported in this article where a ship seems to float above the sea.
When the Cornwall illusion occurred, the BBC meteorologist David Braine said it was common in the Arctic but can appear “very rarely” in the UK during winter.
It is caused by a meteorological phenomenon called a temperature inversion. Normally, the air temperature drops with increasing altitude, making mountaintops colder than the foothills. But in a temperature inversion, warm air sits on top of a band of colder air, playing havoc with our visual perception. Both the Cornwall and Bournemouth instances were caused by chilly air lying over the relatively cold sea, with warmer air above.
Here is the explanation.
It is pretty cool. I would love to see one for myself.