Weather Whys: Mammatus Clouds
Have you ever been watching one of our fine meteorologist's forecasts and wondered what a few of the terms and phrases meant exactly?
We decided we would like to help breakdown all those little questions you might have had, with a segment we're calling Weather Why's.
First up, Mammatus clouds, explained by KEYC News 12 meteorologist Joshua Eckl.
Severe thunderstorms produce many obscure looking clouds and awe inspiring visuals.
Of those incredible sights, the most common and recognizable are in the formation of mammatus clouds.
These ominous and photogenic lobes captivate many storm observers and are ripe with myths of how they form and what they mean for the weather.
I'm meteorologist Joshua Eckl with what will be an ongoing feature here on KEYC News 12, which we're calling "Weather Why's."
To this day there is still no concrete scientific explanation for the formation of mammatus clouds.
What we do know, though, is that they're created when ice crystals in the upper layer turn into water vapor. That change cools the surrounding air, causing it to sink, punching down on the warm air, giving us the bubble effect.
In a certain way, it's a lot like taking your basic cloud formation, with its flat bottom and wispy top, and flipping it upside down, the difference being its cold air sinking, versus warm air rising.
Mammatus can be found regardless of severe weather. They have no tie to a storm's strength, whether they produce hail, tornadoes, or other damaging effects.
One thing we can be sure of... they are a photographer's dream.
--KEYC News 12