Banner cloud

From Glossary of Meteorology

(Also called cloud banner.) A cloud plume often observed to extend downwind from isolated, sharp, often pyramid-shaped mountain peaks, even on otherwise cloud-free days.

The Matterhorn and Mount Everest are two notable peaks where banner clouds have been frequently observed.The physics of the formation of such clouds is not completely understood. The aerodynamics of the flow around the peak produces flow separation and dynamically induced pressure reductions to the lee of the mountain peaks. The magnitude of the leeside pressure deficits increases with height to a maximum near the top of the peak, producing an upslope pressure gradient and upslope flow along the lee slope of the mountain. When the air near the base of the mountain is sufficiently moist, it ascends in the upslope flow, condenses, and forms a triangular- shaped cloud, the banner cloud, to the lee of the peak. Because of its unusual shape and location, this cloud strongly resembles snow blowing off the peak (snow banner), and it is often difficult to tell the difference.

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