Sc stratiformis

From the weather charts thumbnails, it was very clear that the photographed clouds were sea-induced, colloquially known as sea-effect Mistral clouds as proved in the visible satellite image and surface wind chart on the third and fourth thumbnails respectively. The cloud formation photos taken at around 0745 CET was composed of stratocumulus stratiformis opacus (widespread) and rising cumulus bubbles (looking more similar to mini-cumulonimbus clouds) hitting a stable layer at an altitude of about 2.4km creating a photogenic sky in an otherwise dull morning. It was classified as stratiformis because the cloud elements were arranged into large rounded masses forming an extended layer that was covering the whole sky and opacus since it looked thick enough to blot out the sun completely. The second thumbnail is the weather sounding showing a text-book case formation of such clouds with the surface cold NW wind creating contrast with the warmer sea below it forming cumulus clouds. As these rising air bubbles hit a stable layer due to the relatively warmer air above, it began to spread out horizontally inhibiting further vertical growth hence the possibility for thunderstorms or in this case precipitation due to shallow instability. Had the stable ceiling occurred at higher altitudes, the Maltese Islands could have witnessed large and dramatic undulations of stratocumulus clouds creating a rolling effect.

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