What are mammatus clouds?



  1. 0 Votes

    So named because they somewhat resemble mammaries, mammatus clouds are pouchlike cloud structures and visible examples of sinking air. As updrafts carry precipitation enriched air to the cloud top, upward momentum is lost and the air begins to spread out horizontally, becoming a part of the anvil cloud. Because of its high concentration of precipitation particles (ice crystals and water droplets), the saturated air is heavier than the surrounding air and sinks back towards the earth. The temperature of the subsiding air increases as it descends. However, since heat energy is required to melt and evaporate the precipitation particles contained within the sinking air, the warming produced by the sinking motion is quickly used up in the evaporation of precipitation particles.

  2. 0 Votes

    A mammatus cloud refers to the cellular pattern of pouches that hand under the base of a cloud. The couds get their name from their peculiar appearance, that is similar to the shape of a woman’s breast. Mammatus clouds are usually found under cumulonimbus, altocumulus, altostratus, stratocumulus, and cirrus clouds, as well as volcanic ash clouds. In many cases mammatus clouds can serve as an indication of a strong approaching storm or tornado.

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