Rare And Beautiful Mammatus Clouds

Mammatus Clouds

Craig Lindsay / CC BY-SA 3.0

Mammatus Clouds

Mammatus also known as mammatocumulus, the meaning is “mammary cloud”. It  is a meteorological term applied to a cellular pattern of pouches hanging underneath the base of a cloud. The name mammatus is derived from the Latin mamma (meaning “udder” or “breast”).

Mammatus Clouds And Crepuscular Rays

Brocken Inaglory /CC BY-SA 3.0 | Mammatus Clouds And Crepuscular Rays

Mammatus are most often associated with the anvil cloud and also severe thunderstorms. They often extend from the base of a cumulonimbus but may also be found under altocumulus, altostratus, stratocumulus and cirrus clouds as well as volcanic ash clouds.

Mammatus Storm Clouds

Derrich /CC BY-SA 3.0 | Mammatus Storm Clouds

Mammatus may appear as smooth, ragged or lumpy lobes and may be opaque or translucent. Because mammatus occur as a grouping of lobes. The individual mammatus lobe average diameters of 1–3 km and lengths on average of 0.5 km. A lobe can last an average of 10 minutes, but a whole cluster of mamma can range from 15 minutes to a few hours.

Mammatus Clouds

Hansueli Krapf /CC BY-SA 3.0 | Mammatus Clouds

The existence of many different types of mammatus clouds, each with distinct properties and occurring in distinct environments has given rise to multiple hypothesized formation mechanisms which are also relevant to other cloud forms. One environmental trend is shared by all of the formation mechanisms hypothesized for mammatus clouds: sharp gradients in temperature, moisture and momentum across the anvil cloud/sub-cloud air boundary, which strongly influence interactions therein.

Mammatus Clouds

Zachary Hauri /Public Domain | Mammatus Clouds

What do you think about this story?

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
The Classic Internet Listicles
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Photo or GIF
GIF format