When studying the different types of clouds, as well as all their features, you will come across a lot of specific terms.
With so much to describe, it’s unsurprising that there are a lot of different names and categories within clouds – they are so much more than white formations in the sky.
One of these terms that you may hear coming up a lot is “tuba”. But what is the cloud feature known as a “tuba”?
In the informative guide below, you’ll find out all about “tuba” cloud features and how they are formed, as well as where they may occur.
What Is A Tuba Cloud Feature?
The tuba cloud feature is more easily described by mentioning another type of feature that is very similar, but not entirely identical: the funnel cloud.
With that title, you can picture these clouds much better, since they are shaped like long funnels in the sky. When you picture that, you may be reminded of tornados, which are actually types of funnel clouds.
There are two types of cloud where you can find a tuba cloud feature.
These are the cumulus and the cumulonimbus cloud types, and the funnel shape can often be seen coming out of the main body of the cloud, looking like a needle dangling out of the bottom.
How Is A Tuba Cloud Feature Made?
A tube cloud feature is created by a mass of condensed water droplets that have formed around a rotating column of air.
Looking like a long funnel, it extends out of the base of the main cloud body, but never reaches far down enough to touch any ground or water.
You may also hear the term “condensation funnel” being used sometimes, which you may think is a good description of the tuba cloud feature formation we’ve just described.
However, this term could be used to refer to either a funnel cloud aloft or a tornadic cloud (a tornado).
The title “funnel cloud”, however, can only be used to refer to the rotating condensation funnels that don’t reach down to touch any surfaces, be it land or water.
The “condensation funnel” can certainly be used to refer to it, though “funnel cloud” would be a more specific term.
Types Of Funnel Cloud
One of the most famous tuba cloud features, also known as funnel clouds, is the tornado. These come from supercellular thunderstorms, which are a specific type of thunderstorm that is defined by its constant rotating updraft.
Similarly, the tornado that can be spawned by them is also characterized by the fact that it rotates. With a tornado, it is a funnel cloud that has a rotating column of air that does make contact with the ground.
This makes them different from other types of funnel cloud, which don’t touch the ground.
There are certain variations of tornado that will be slightly different visually, with clear ground circulation even when they are not condensed entirely from the cloud base down to the ground.
When a tornado is formed, you will often see a wall cloud alongside it. These are exactly as they sound, being clouds that look like wide walls. The tornado will sometimes form out of them. The wall cloud is a type of tuba, but not a funnel cloud.
Landspouts And Waterspouts
These variations of “spouts” are funnel clouds that form over specific areas. For example, a landspout is a funnel cloud that forms over land, while a waterspout forms over big areas of water.
They can form from both cumulus congestus and cumulonimbus clouds.
These funnel clouds are dangerous just like tornados, so steer clear. However, they are not formed from supercell thunderstorms, instead being created from non-supercell thunderstorms.
This different type of thunderstorm is different from supercells in that they have an updraft that doesn’t rotate.
The reason for this is that there is not enough change in the speed of the wind, as well as its height and direction, and therefore not enough power for rotation.
For this reason, landspouts and waterspouts are less powerful than supercell tornados, though still very dangerous to be around.
Cold Air Funnel Clouds
These are also weaker than the funnel clouds formed from supercells, and only rarely make contact with the ground. Cold air funnel clouds form high up and consist of rotating columns of condensation.
These have been formed by the instability that is a result of a cold front arriving, which is an oncoming mass of cold air meeting a warmer region.
Tuba cloud features are similar to funnel clouds, and have many different types.