It is normal for thunderstorm clouds to form over the Pacific Ocean. What’s not normal is when a thunderstorm cloud reaches a really cool temperature that “pushes the limits of what [our] current satellites are capable of measuring.” This is what happened in 2018, when a storm cloud reached -167.8°F (-111°C), according to a study.
Thunderstorms and tropical cyclones, a circular low-pressure storm, can reach very high altitudes — up to 11 miles (18 kilometers) from the ground — where the air is much cooler, according to a statement from the U.K.'s National Center for Earth Observation.
But this new temperature is on another level. The top of the storm cloud was about 86 F (30 C) colder than typical storm clouds, according to the statement. The beast of a storm loomed about 249 miles (400 km) south of Nauru in the Southwest Pacific on Dec. 29, 2018, and its clouds' temperature was picked up by an infrared sensor aboard the U.S.'s NOAA-20 satellite orbiting the planet.
Simon Proud, lead author of the study, states that this phenomenon of clouds reaching extremely cold temperatures is becoming more common today, and this means that thunderstorms will be more dangerous for us in the near future.
More about this over at Live Science.
(Image Credit: National Centre for Earth Observation/ Live Science)