⛈️⛈️⚡☔ Today’s #askextremeross, @petercrew asks “What’s the highest CB (cumulonimbus cloud) top you’ve gone over?”
So I’m not quite sure I remember, but I thought this picture was pretty cool. This was taken about 10 years ago on my earlier camera, the Nikon D90. Thunderstorms could get pretty high, especially the closer to the equator you are. The top of the CB is determined by the height of the tropopause, or where the stratosphere begins. The atmosphere is heated from the top by UV rays. Other solar radiation that reaches the ground warms the Earth and it emits IR (or heat), warming the atmosphere from the ground up. Where these two meet is an equilibrium point known as the tropopause. More solar radiation (e.g. the tropics) equals more heating from the ground and it pushes the tropopause higher, and that extra heating will build CBs that much higher. It was generally bad practice to fly over CBs that stretched into the 40’s or higher. Even though you can top it, there might be some pretty bad turbulence and that would be a crappy place to find yourself with a wing torn off from heavy turbulence. They were always beautiful to look at though.