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Cumulus clouds

Cumulus clouds

E120/0414

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40.9 MB (3.1 MB compressed)

4227 x 3385 pixels

35.8 x 28.7 cm ⏐ 14.1 x 11.3 in (300dpi)

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JOHN MEAD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN MEAD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Cumulus clouds. Cumulus clouds against a blue sky. Cumulus clouds form at low altitudes (under 2000 metres) from water droplets that condense out of rising columns of moist air. They develop into vertical heaps with flat bases and cauliflower- shaped heads, measuring 500-1500 metres in height. Although sometimes dark when seen from below their tops are brilliant white (as seen here). Cumulus clouds often form at cold fronts, where advancing cold air pushes warmer air upwards, causing moisture to condense very quickly. These clouds sometimes grow into dark, towering storm clouds (called cumulonimbus), which can grow up to 15 kilometres tall.

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