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Credit: E. Wiebe

Clouds form in the atmosphere where the relative humidity is high enough and there are sufficient condensation nuclei. As a result we often see cloud in layers. Here the Olympic Mountains provide a backdrop for low altitude cumulus and more distant taller cumulus and pileus clouds. Even more distant and at a higher elevation still cirrostratus clouds appear faintly against the blue sky.

Note the flat bottom of the cumulus. Rising air cools and it's relative humidity increases. At some level in the atmosphere that air may reach saturation with respect to water vapour and condensation can begin. This often appears as a sharp boundary between clear air and air with cloud droplets or ice crystals.

The black looking cloud at the top of the photograph is actually much closer to the camera but probably at a similiar altitude as the more distant cumulus near to the mountains. The body of the water is the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the camera is looking south (approximately) from Mount Douglas (PKOLS) in Saanich on Vancouver Island.

UVic / SEOS / Climate Group / About Front Page Picture / Olympic Layers Last updated: Friday, 12-Feb-2016 11:03:10 PST
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