Turbulent mixing

Air flowing over terrain is generally deformed by frictional forces into a series of eddies similar to water in a fast-flowing stream. Strong low-level inversions have the capacity to contain the turbulence in a confined layer, leading to cooler air from the base of the inversion mixing

with warmer air from near the top of the inversion, effectively cooling the entire layer. If at some point within the layer saturation occurs, Stratus or Stratocumulus cloud may form. The Figure below depicts the formation of cloud by mixing air to saturation below an inversion.

At higher levels, some forms of Altocumulus, as well as Cirrocumulus, occur in the turbulent region between two horizontal air currents moving from different directions or at different speeds.

Low ragged stratus clouds may form below Cumulonimbus and Nimbostratus through the process of turbulent mixing.

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