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The Mystical Clouds that Linger on Mountain Tops



Cloud formations at the peaks of mountains, like Table Mountain in Cape Town or Silhouette Island in the Seychelles, occur due to orographic lifting. Orographic lifting happens when moist air is forced to rise over elevated terrain.

As air ascends a mountain slope, it cools and expands. As it cools, the moisture in the air condenses to form clouds. This process is particularly pronounced on the windward side of a mountain, where air is lifted, cooled, and condensed into visible cloud formations. The leeward side, or the "rain shadow," often experiences drier conditions as the air descends and warms.

In the case of Table Mountain and Silhouette Island, their prominent elevations interact with prevailing winds, causing air to rise and create clouds at the higher altitudes. This phenomenon is a common occurrence in mountainous regions worldwide.


The picture after careful inspection indicates in the above instance the cloud above Silhouette Island is cumulonimbus that form through vertical development, often associated with intense convective activity.

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