Cloud of the Month

April 2013

Cloud of the Month for April 2013

A Fiery Brazilian Beauty

The Cloud of the Month for April was photographed over Brazil by Pilot Ron Engels from the flight deck, en route from Amsterdam to Lima. It shows a majestic vista of castle-like towering Cumulus and Cumulonimbus clouds extending for miles ahead. A pilot must plot his route carefully to find a safe passage through these cloudy battlements. You might think that, unlike real castle turrets, the ephemeral clouds wouldn’t present many problems for an airliner, but clouds like these have to be avoided at all costs. They contain violent up- and downdrafts of air that can flip a plane like a pancake. As the author G. K. Chesterton wrote, “There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds”.

Photograph © Ron Engels.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (43 votes, average: 4.47 out of 5)

10 comments have been made

  1. stratocumuliform8 Apr 2013

    Spectacular photo!! Last time I checked, your cloud classification table showed all cumulus species as “low” family. However, this photo suggests that towering cumulus (TCU) which comprises the species congestus (and maybe mediocris) should be classified separately from the smaller cumulus species (fractus and humilis) as “multilevel” alongside nimbostratus and cumulonimbus. Most TCU I’ve seen occupies at least the low and middle etages.

  2. Louise8 Apr 2013


  3. MRS COOPER10 Apr 2013

    What a beautiful picture it leaves the mind in wonder and the imagination aglow. Wonderful!

  4. Cloud Smitten15 Apr 2013

    Great shot! Now I see that cumulonimbus clouds do NOT have to be dark and rainy – they can be beautiful, against all prejudices and stereotypes I have heard!!

  5. Laurence Green21 Apr 2013

    I suggest that if the CAS had a “Cloud of the Year” vote then this photo would unquestionably be my first choice. Maybe the CAS might consider a “Photo Of The Year”?

    This truly memorable photo seems to have imprinted itself on my mind. I cannot forget it – why should I? I just simply love, love, love it! It fills me with rapturous admiration – and I am mightily grand it does just that. It is a photo I will not forget, that is, if I ever tried to,fool tat I would be to even attempt to do so!

    This photo depicts a majesterial magnificence and towering grandeur – and on a big panorama/ It is the best, so far, of all the truly really lovely photos I have been fortunate to view on this website.


  6. prithvi raj13 Aug 2013

    amazing photography of the cumulonimbus ron

  7. Tim Mc Craw7 Oct 2013

    Wow what a lovely cloud. It reminds me of the time I was in the war, back in 92. Gun fires, bomb shells, I was hit. But I saw a cumulonibus cloud like this and I pulled the bullet out of my chest and kept on fighting. Goes to show what a change clouds make in your life. <3 <3 I love clouds.

  8. Little Miss Fiona7 Oct 2013

    Dear McCraw,
    First off there was no war in 92. Second off it is not possible to pull a bullet out of your chest. Please dont make fun of clouds, that would be greatly appreciated.

  9. Tim Mc Craw7 Oct 2013

    Dear Little Miss Fiona,
    First off it is possible because I did it. Second off do not think that I dont love clouds because I do. I was simply admiring it

  10. radiometeolibera25 Mar 2014


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