Ci mamma

A photograph of the cirrus spissatus mammatus cloud taken just before sunset. Althaugh the cloud patch was isolated, the striking feature was the hanging protuberances below the cloud which is the rarely observed supplementary feature mamma. Of particular interest was the numerous amounts of small mamma features underneath cirrus which did not look really thick. I am not able to really explain the numerous mammatus features beneath this cloud formation and indeed what caused them to form underneath relatively thin cirrus spissatus. In some parts of the cloud, the mammatus features remained visible even after the disappearance of the main cloud line, look towards the right of the photo. The first thumbnail is another dramatic formation of the observed high-level clouds with the top one above the tree showing its mammatus development. The second thumbnail is a very close up view of the mammatus feautures under the cirrus cloud whilst the third thumbnail is yet another wider view of the same high-level clouds. The fourth thumbnail is the 8PM weather sounding. It definitely indicated very high clouds with very cold temperatures of well below -40°C and at altitudes of between 10km and 12.3km. The reason behind the formation of very small mamma was much probably the great distance from the observer, due to a very high altitude, and the very cold temperatures at that level which favoured the condensation of small ice crystals rather than larger ones. The jet stream was not strong peaking at just 55kmh. It is very hard to decipher what triggered such cloud formation. I was not aware of any thunderstorm cloud formations in the vicinity of the Maltese Islands unlike the previous day. However, the fifth thumbnail showed positive vorticity directly over Malta onto a building North African anticyclone.

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