Cumulonimbus Clouds Facts

Cumulonimbus Clouds Facts
Cumulonimbus clouds are dense, vertical, towering clouds commonly associated with instability in the atmosphere and thunderstorms. The cumulonimbus cloud is formed by water vapour that air currents carry upwards, and these clouds can produce dangerous lightning and severe tornadoes. When cumulonimbus clouds develop even further they can result in a supercell, which are also referred to as rotating thunderstorms - extremely severe storms that can cause extreme damage. Cumulonimbus clouds are classified as D2, which means they are vertically developed, and the abbreviation is Cb. Cumulonimbus clouds have three species including the cumulonimbus calvus, cumulonimbus capillatus, and cumulonimbus incus.
Interesting Cumulonimbus Clouds Facts:
The cumulonimbus cloud can have a flattened top - which is caused by high winds. This leaves the cloud looking like and anvil. The storm is usually heading in the direction that than anvil points to.
A cumulonimbus cloud forms at heights less than 20,000 feet, but can extend upwards much further.
The top of a cumulonimbus cloud can reach 39,000 feet or sometimes higher into the atmosphere.
In the lower level of the cumulonimbus cloud it is mostly made up water droplets. Higher up in the cloud the temperature is below zero degrees Celsius, and ice crystals are the dominating form.
If a cumulonimbus cloud develops into a supercell, it can last several hours or longer. This type of storm often results in lightning, hail, strong and damaging wind, and tornadoes.
Often the rain produced by a cumulonimbus cloud only lasts for 20 minutes or less, but the rainfall itself is often very heavy. It can also cause flash flooding.
Cumulonimbus clouds sometimes have bubble-like protrusions on their underside which are called mammatus or mammas.
Some cumulonimbus clouds have a tuba, which is a column that hangs from the cloud base. This can become a tornado or funnel cloud and can drop to as low as 20 feet above the ground.
When viewed from the ground cumulonimbus clouds look dark and ominous. The light above is scattered by the water and ice droplets and makes it look very dark.
Sometimes the rain can evaporate before it hits the ground. This is referred to as virga.
A cumulonimbus cloud goes through three stages. The first is the development stage; the second is the mature stage; and the third stage is the dissipation stage.
There are several different types of clouds. Vertical clouds include cumulonimbus clouds and cumulus clouds. Low clouds include stratus, and stratocumulus clouds. Middle clouds include Altostratus, altocumulus, and nimbostratus clouds. High clouds include cirrus, cirrocumulus, and cirrostratus clouds.
Cumulonimbus clouds are the largest type of cloud, and it can extend through all three regions of clouds.
A cumulonimbus calvus cloud has a puffy top. In the right conditions the cumulonimbus calvus can become a cumulonimbus capillatus cloud.
A cumulonimbus capillatus cloud has a cirrus-like top which gives the appearance of hair.
A cumulonimbus incus cloud has an anvil-shaped top.
Although more common in warm climates, winter cumulonimbus clouds can result in blizzards, which can also include lightning, thunder, and a lot of snow.

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