A Colour Guide to Clouds by Richard Scorer

By Richard Scorer

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The wind rotates round a centre of low pressure which is formed under some of the most rapidly growing cumulonimbus clouds. The surrounding air is sucked into the vortex, as is clearly shown by the smoke in this picture. If solid objects are sucked up or torn from the ground the violent rotation causes them to be thrown outwards in all directions. Because of the very low pressure in the centre of the vortex cloud is formed there, and if it passes over a house the excess of pressure inside causes the walls to explode outwards.

In the cold air on the right cumulus is rapidly developing as soon as the sunshine begins to warm the ground. This picture was taken at about 11 o'clock on a summer morning ; and further from the front where the cold air was deeper, showers occurred in the afternoon. 26. Cumulonimbus in deep cold air is here illustrated with the lower clouds leaning forward (to the left) showing that the wind is stronger at higher levels. The anvil has snow and rain falling from it, and this gives it the softened outline, while a newly growing part of the cloud penetrates, with sharp white outline, far above the spreading anvil.

In the distance is a more continuous layer of fibrous ice cloud which is therefore called cirrostratus. There are some small fragments of cumulus, but the shadow of the cirrus is cutting off the sunshine so that there are scarcely any thermals to renew the evaporating cumulus. There is great contrast of colour here because the picture was taken using a polarising screen which, in certain directions, excludes the blue sky light. 20. As a low pressure area (depression) approaches, first we see cirrus perhaps like 19, and this gradually thickens into a complete layer of cirrostratus as shown here.

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