Sea of clouds

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Sea of clouds in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc

A sea of clouds is an overcast layer of clouds, viewed from above, with a relatively uniform top which shows undulations of very different lengths resembling waves.[1] A sea of fog is formed from stratus clouds or fog and does not show undulations.[2]

In both cases, the phenomenon looks very similar to the open ocean. The comparison is even more complete if some mountain peaks raise above the clouds like some islands.


A sea of clouds forms generally in valleys or over seas in very stable air mass conditions such as in a temperature inversion. Humidity can then reach saturation and condensation leads to a very uniform stratocumulus cloud, stratus cloud or fog. Above this layer, the air must be dry. This is a common situation in a high-pressure area with cooling at the surface by radiative cooling at night in summer, or advection of cold air in winter or in a marine layer.

Artistic uses[edit]


  1. ^ World Meteorological Organization. "Sea of clouds". Eumetcal. Retrieved February 22, 2015. 
  2. ^ World Meteorological Organization. "Sea of fog". Eumetcal. Retrieved February 22, 2015. 
  3. ^ Maitland, Derek; Taylor, Chris (1998). Traveler's China companion. Old Saybrook: Globe Pequot Press. p. 20. ISBN 9780762702497.