Sc stratiformis

Formation of stratocumulus due to an unseasonably early white bora wind or cold gregale current over the Maltese Islands brought about by an unusually strong anticyclone over Central Europe dragging this colder air over a warm sea towards the Maltese Islands. The cloud cover was thick enough to obscure the sun completely hence it was of the variety opacus. In the background, it is clear that light rain was falling from underneath the clouds hence adding ‘praecipitatio’ to its name as a supplementary feauture. Due to the dry nature of this airmass as per weather sounding on the second thumbnail, thunderstorm clouds were not able to form but just enlongated stratocumulus stratiformis clouds capped at a level of not more than 3.2km which was the upper limit of the modified airmass or at 1600 metres if one takes the end of condensation level into account. The first thumbnail is a morning view of the same cloud cover with some cumulus fractus

underneath it which changed its appearance all the time due to its ragged nature. The third, fourth and fifth thumbnails are the visible satellite image, sea level pressure and surface winds. When combined together, we could see that the sheet of cloud pictured as stratocumulus in the satellite image formed exactly in line with the cold wind coming down from the Balkans in association with the said out of season Wintry anticyclone. This surface anticyclone was powered by an already present upper-level ridge over Western Europe being strengthened by an inflow of cold air coming down from polar regions which is heavier hence tends to sink.

This event was preceded by the arrival of individualized stratocumulus as described here.

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