Cumulonimbus and Pileus Over Iberia

August 30, 2005

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Provided by: Jesús Maíz Apellániz, Space Telescope Science Institute
Summary authors & editors: Jesús Maíz Apellániz

As I was flying over the Southern Iberian Peninsula this past June, I noticed building cumulus clouds with pileus -- pileus is Latin for "cap" or "skull cap." These silky appearing clouds ascend quite rapidly -- rising at velocities of 40 feet (about 12 m) per second and sometimes even faster. If the layer of air above a cumulonimbus cell is saturated, as was the case on this afternoon, a smooth, rounded cap cloud often forms. See also the Earth Science Picture of the Day for February 1, 2004 and June 10, 2005.

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