Mushroom Sky Over Paris

June 09, 2014

Big mushrooms

Photographer: Bertrand Kulik
Summary Authors: Bertrand Kulik; Jim Foster
The photo above showing a line of cauliflower-like clouds was snapped on a mid-spring afternoon in Paris, France. These cumulus congestus clouds typically occur beneath about 20,000 ft (6,096 m). They're a sign that fairly strong updrafts have formed -- the atmosphere is conditionally unstable. The environment of the cloud is more buoyant (warmer) than the surrounding air. Under such conditions, clouds may continue to develop into towering cumulonimbus clouds. Note the rather sharp cloud base indicating the condensation level -- the altitude at which water vapor condenses into cloud droplets. Photo taken on May 12, 2014.
Photo details: Canon EOD 7D camera; f/12.9; 0.004 sec. exposure; 48 mm lens; ISO 100.