Picture of the Day: The Shelf Cloud


TwistedSifter

 

THE SHELF CLOUD

 

shelf-cloud-arcus-cloud-montevideo-uruguay

Photograph by Gonzalo G. Useta

 

In this stunning capture by Gonzalo G. Useta, we see a massive shelf cloud off the coast of Montevideo, Uruguay. A shelf cloud is a low, horizontal, wedge-shaped Arcus cloud. They are typically attached to the base of a parent cloud, which is usually a thunderstorm, but could form on any type of convective cloud. [Source]

Rising cloud motion often can be seen in the leading (outer) part of the shelf cloud, while the underside often appears turbulent and wind-torn. Cool, sinking air from a storm cloud’s downdraft spreads out across the land surface, with the leading edge called a gust front. This outflow cuts under warm air being drawn into the storm’s updraft. As the lower cooler air lifts the warm moist air, its water condenses, creating a cloud which often rolls with the different…

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