31 July 2018

"Ice Cap"....

Interesting choice of word...."mothership"....

Source: Weather.com

The mothership of all umbrella clouds formed over thunderstorms in southern Alabama over the weekend.

This cap cloud, or pileus cloud, is likely made of ice particles. Such clouds form above quickly growing vertical thunderstorms.

Typically not too deep or tall, pileus clouds develop as air is jettisoned above new cumulus or cumulonimbus clouds that are exploding in height below. As air is pushed out of the way, it freezes and becomes the pileus cloud.

Pileus clouds also form above volcanic eruptions, as seen in this Sarychev eruption near Japan a decade ago.

This cloud formation process is similar to pushing your finger through a moderately thick plastic that won't break but will stretch as you apply a force from below.

Sometimes during rapid thunderstorm growth, parent thunderstorms can catch up to or even penetrate the pileus clouds. You can see this occurring in the image above on the left side of the pileus dome. If there's enough upward force from the thunderstorm a secondary cap cloud can form atop the primary pileus cloud.

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