The highest ever measured thunderstorms

highest thunderstorms

How high into the sky can thunderstorms develop – what are the highest even measured thunderstorms? The strongest updrafts reach the tropopause and produce overshooting tops. The highest storms in the world have been recorded in the tropics, where the tropopause is the highest (15-18 km). Thunderstorms reaching 20-22 km high have been recorded there. … Read more

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