Cumulus Clouds with Spikes

December 02, 2022




Photographer: Mila Zinkova    

Summary Author: Mila Zinkova; Jim Foster

Shown above are curious shaped, cumulus clouds that were observed from near my home in San Francisco, California, on April 19, 2022. The spike-like features have horseshoe shapes in some cases, as shown in the bottom photo. Perhaps these spikes and horseshoes are caused by convection -- intense localized heating of the most optically thick portion of cloud by the strong April sun. However, because the atmospheric environment where the clouds formed wasn't suitable (stable atmosphere) for widespread building, they remained overall fairly “flat” in appearance. Click here to see a video of these clouds.

San Francisco, California Coordinates: 37.7749, -122.4194

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