Incus Cloud Above Cheshire, England

March 21, 2008

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Provided and copyright by: Kiran Chakravarti
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster, Kiran Chakravarti  

The photo above showing a massive incus (Latin for "anvil") cloud was taken over Cheshire, England in August of 2007. In spite of its marine climate, towering cumulonimbus and severe thunderstorms are occasionally observed over the United Kingdom. I was on holiday in Cheshire when I noticed this enormous storm cloud, which seemed to spread and fill most of the sky. Anvil clouds mark the mature stage of a storm cell. When these clouds are seen, it's an indication that the storm's updrafts are encountering a layer of more stable air (tropopause), causing cloud tops to move laterally rather than vertically. Soon after I snapped this picture, a deluge soaked both my camera and me.