Mamma clouds

By Guido Trombetta on 10:28 AM
mammatus clouds
©Jorn Olsen

Mammatus clouds (also known as mammatocumulus, meaning "bumpy clouds") or simply "Mamma Clouds" 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 (breast), due to the resemblance between the shape of these clouds and human female breasts.

When occurring in cumulonimbus, mammatus are often indicative of a particularly strong storm. These tend to form more often during warm months and they are much more common in U.S.A. than in Europe. Due to the intensely sheared environment in which mammatus form, aviators are strongly cautioned to avoid cumulonimbus with mammatus.

Mammatus may appear as smooth, ragged or lumpy lobes and may be opaque or semitransparent. Because mammatus occur as a grouping of lobes, the way they clump together can vary from an isolated cluster to a field of mamma that spread over hundreds of kilometers to being organized along a line, and may be composed of unequal- or similarly-sized 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. Their composition is usually mostly ice, but can be a mixture of ice and liquid water or almost entirely liquid water.

The first six photos of this post were taken by Jorn Olsen in Heartwell Park in Hastings, Nebraska in 2004 and are probably the best visual attestation of this curious phenomenon:

mammatus clouds
©Jorn Olsen

mammatus clouds
©Jorn Olsen

mammatus clouds
©Jorn Olsen

mammatus clouds
©Jorn Olsen

mammatus clouds
©Jorn Olsen

The following are other pictures of mammatus clouds taken everywhere in the world. The main source of them is the Cloud Appreciation Society, a fantastic site which is the "bible" for everything concerning clouds. Take a look to their photo galleries!

mammatus clouds
in Norfolk, UK ( © Tim Salter)

mammatus clouds
Taken in Colorado Springs, Colorado. © Tommy Pesavento.

mammatus clouds
in Milan, Italy, July 2005

mammatus clouds
San Francisco Bay

mammatus clouds
in Iraq, April 2006.

mammatus clouds
in Minnesota in 2005

Comments

9 Response to 'Mamma clouds'

  1. Anonymous
    http://seawayblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/mamma-clouds.html?showComment=1216479000000#c340175106009156165'> July 19, 2008 at 4:50 PM

    SO COOL.

     

  2. Anonymous
    http://seawayblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/mamma-clouds.html?showComment=1275516691957#c2995867972231502379'> June 3, 2010 at 12:11 AM

    Wow! We have these clouds in Briggs, Texas right now!

     

  3. Anonymous
    http://seawayblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/mamma-clouds.html?showComment=1275516693596#c2476426185522369476'> June 3, 2010 at 12:11 AM

    Wow! We have these clouds in Briggs, Texas right now!

     

  4. Noelia
    http://seawayblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/mamma-clouds.html?showComment=1283351926256#c5250908080061338948'> September 1, 2010 at 4:38 PM

    Impressive spectacle of the great nature!! I love it!!

     

  5. WrightHandBlogger
    http://seawayblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/mamma-clouds.html?showComment=1312323929711#c2840881270881714516'> August 3, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    I've been on the planet for awhile but, yesterday, for the first time in my life, I saw them over Central Connecticut in the early evening...completely mesmerizing... (I'm just glad I'm seeing them for the first time in 2011 and NOT 1711...)

     

  6. Anonymous
    http://seawayblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/mamma-clouds.html?showComment=1314838959988#c7303730979941703962'> September 1, 2011 at 3:02 AM

    Cool story you got here. It would be great to read something more concerning that theme. Thnx for posting this material. Lina
    Kiev escort agency

     

  7. Anonymous
    http://seawayblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/mamma-clouds.html?showComment=1328383896535#c5062950720377853692'> February 4, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    I am very happy to read this article..thanks for giving us this useful information. anti viral Read a useful article about tramadol tramadol

     

  8. healthy for women
    http://seawayblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/mamma-clouds.html?showComment=1405927160753#c3701658998544277768'> July 21, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    They way these feathered friends and fantastic fungi appear on the paper, it is as though they were waiting for your hand to reveal them. See how they all have their attention on you, Geninne?
    ciri crystal x
    efek samping crystal x
    cara pemesanan crystal x
    crystal x asli
    I think you mean Portsea! :)

     

  9. wanita sehat
    http://seawayblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/mamma-clouds.html?showComment=1405927232219#c1685990595955361035'> July 21, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    you are so very talented. i love how you take your inspiration and transform it into a piece of art. i am always so inspired when i look at your blog. visit my blog
    moreskin and herbastamin or royal jelly more enbepe
    This was the first place that told me the answer. Thanks.