Earth photos

Cumulonimbus. Earth's atmosphere

Cumulonimbus. Earth's atmosphere

Despite its appearance, this cloud represents no danger. Suspended over a remote monastery in Sicily, Italy, the anvil shape of this cumulonimbus shows several classic features in the clouds.

A cloud is made up of millions of tiny droplets of water and ice. The visible flattening of the lower part of the cloud was caused by a temperature drop in the lower atmosphere; above, a column of water saturated with water is forced to condense into drops of water.

The shape of the middle part of the cloud is due to the fact that the column of air, loaded with drops of water, is pushed up and laterally. The anvil shape of the top of the cloud is because the rising air column reaches a stable atmospheric layer, perhaps the stratosphere, where the horizontally moving air flattens the top of the cloud.

◄ PreviousNext ►
Cirrus jetsMammatus
Album: Photos of the Earth and the Moon Gallery: Atmosphere of the Earth