Looking south from Imp Peak -...

Looking south from Imp Peak - Can anyone name this cloud formation? (I can't)


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desainme - Feb 25, 2004 4:05 pm - Voted 10/10


I'd have to check the weather channel for this one.


Klenke - Feb 25, 2004 4:51 pm - Hasn't voted

cirro-stratus over cumulus

It looks to me like cirro-stratus (or possibly alto-stratus depending on elevation) gliding over a summertime cumulus. It indicates higher winds aloft as compared to that which the cumulus floats in.

Plausible scenario:

The cumulus has convected upward and created a sort of buoyant air shell that is acting just like a mountain would. The air flowing horizontally at higher altitudes is encountering this buoyant shell and is being forced up and around it. The net effect is a cloud formation that looks like (and is for all intents and purposes) a lenticular capping a mountain.

Often, thunderstorms will ascend to such great heights under sufficently strong updraft conditions that their tops--called anvil domes--will rise above their own anvils. The anvil (a type of cirrus cloud, i.e., formed of ice crystals) typically forms at the tropopause. However, the source moisture for cloud formation for an anvil is different for that of the capping cloud in the above picture. The anvil's source is the T-storm itself (sort of an out-spreading of thunderstorm juices, if you will). The capping cloud's water content comes from the stream of moisture being carried along at higher altitude. The cumulus' moisture source could be from humidity/evaporation near the surface or in that layer below the higher winds aloft. At least that is my understanding of things.

Cap cloud glossary definition.


Klenke - Feb 25, 2004 5:27 pm - Hasn't voted

cirro-stratus over cumulus, addendum

Mathias' recent picture finely illustrates a cap cloud over a mountain. Replace that mountain with a cumulus and you have the situation shown in your picture above.


desainme - Feb 25, 2004 6:35 pm - Voted 10/10

Imp of the Preverse: E.A. Poe

"By gradations, still more imperceptible, this cloud assumes shape, as did the vapour from the bottle out of which arose the genius in the Arabian Nights. But out of this our cloud upon the precipice's edge, there grows into palpability, a shape, far more terrible than any genius or any demon of a tale, and yet it is but a thought, although a fearful one, and one which chills the very marrow of our bones with the fierceness of the delight of its horror..."

Given the name of this peak perhaps?

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