Cumulonimbus

Cumulonimbus Clouds (“The towering thunderclouds that scare us senseless”) 

Cumulonimbus Clouds Facts

Cumulonimbus clouds are dense, vertical, towering clouds commonly associated with instability in the atmosphere and thunderstorms. The cumulonimbus cloud is formed by water vapour that air currents carry upwards, and these clouds can produce dangerous lightning and severe tornadoes. When cumulonimbus clouds develop even further they can result in a supercell, which are also referred to as rotating thunderstorms - extremely severe storms that can cause extreme damage. Cumulonimbus clouds are classified as D2, which means they are vertically developed, and the abbreviation is Cb. Cumulonimbus clouds 

Cumulonimbus clouds are born through convection, often growing from small cumulus clouds over a hot surface. They get taller and taller until they represent huge powerhouses, storing the same amount of energy as 10 Hiroshima-sized atom bombs.

 

Interesting Cumulonimbus Clouds Facts:

The cumulonimbus cloud can have a flattened top - which is caused by high winds. This leaves the cloud looking like and anvil. The storm is usually heading in the direction that than anvil points to.

 

A cumulonimbus cloud forms at heights less than 20,000 feet, but can extend upwards much further.
The top of a cumulonimbus cloud can reach 39,000 feet or sometimes higher into the atmosphere.
In the lower level of the cumulonimbus cloud it is mostly made up water droplets. Higher up in the cloud the temperature is below zero degrees Celsius, and ice crystals are the dominating form.
If a cumulonimbus cloud develops into a supercell, it can last several hours or longer. This type of storm often results in lightning, hail, strong and damaging wind, and tornadoes.
Often the rain produced by a cumulonimbus cloud only lasts for 20 minutes or less, but the rainfall itself is often very heavy. It can also cause flash flooding.

Cumulonimbus clouds sometimes have bubble-like protrusions on their underside which are called mammatus or mammas.

Although more common in warm climates, winter cumulonimbus clouds can result in blizzards, which can also include lightning, thunder, and a lot of snow.

 
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