Mammatus clouds

mammatus clouds

Mammatus clouds form on the underside of a thunderstorm’s anvil. Their name comes from the Latin word mamma, meaning “udder” or “breast”. They appear as pouch-like structures protruding from underneath the anvil. Mammatus clouds are gentle downdrafts – sinking cool air – descending from the anvil, that form, evolve, and dissipate over a time span … Read more

Back-sheared anvil – updraft strength vs. wind shear

back-sheared anvil

A back-sheared anvil is the expression for a cumulonimbus anvil that spreads against (upwind) into relatively strong winds (jet stream) aloft. Anvil vs. wind As the anvil is forming, it is under the influence of upper-level winds. Typically as you go higher in the troposphere, winds increase. Under stable conditions with high pressure, winds in … Read more

Overshooting top

overshooting top

Overshooting tops develop on thunderstorms that have particularly strong updrafts. Overshooting tops typically develop on Cumulonimbus capillatus incus clouds. The updraft punches through the equilibrium level (and thus the anvil), rising higher due to its momentum, despite not being buoyant anymore. An overshooting top is usually short-lived, several tens of seconds, up to several minutes. … Read more

Types of convective clouds – from fair-weather clouds to thunderstorms

convective cloud types

Convection forms distinct types of clouds. Convective clouds are divided into two types (genera): cumulus and cumulonimbus. Each successive type and species display more vertical development as a result of more convective energy being available. The more convective energy is available, the higher the convective cloud will reach. In terms of how high convection goes, … Read more

Introduction to convective weather – Cauliflower clouds

Cauliflower clouds

We will start with the convective weather. The convective processes in the atmosphere involve heating of the air at the surface which results in lifting the air from the Earth’s surface upwards. As the warm air rises, the water vapor condenses into water or ice. This convective process generates the clouds and at the end, … Read more