Cumulonimbus Incus

August 05, 2009


Photographer: Peter Desypris
Summary Author: Peter Desypris; Jim Foster

The photo above showing a startling cumulonimbus incus cloud was captured near the Corvus Eye Observatory on the island of Syros, Greece on June 25, 2009. Cumulonimbus incus (incus is Latin for anvil) is a mature storm cloud which has reached the tropopause; the boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere. Here, with vertical momentum denied by an abrupt change of the temperature lapse rate, the cloud flattens out and often takes on an anvil-like appearance. In tropical and subtropical areas cumulonimbus incus clouds can attain altitudes in excess of 60,000 feet (18,300 m) -- twice the height of Mt. Everest. Photo taken on a tripod using a Canon Power Shot A530 camera.

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