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What is a sea of ​​clouds, this weather phenomenon visible in the Alps

In Chamrousse in Isère, a sea of ​​cloud covers the horizon on Wednesday January 25.
In Chamrousse in Isère, a sea of ​​clouds covers the horizon on Wednesday January 25. (©webcam-Chamrousse)

While strolling on social networks or for the luckiest in the Alps, you have been able to observe “seas of clouds”. A meteorological phenomenon that offers sublime pictures.

A cluster of clouds gathers, smooths and covers the whole of a valley. Guillaume Séchet, meteorologist, delivers to Grenoble news elements to understand this particularity.

“A classic situation”

A sea of ​​clouds is a weather phenomenon that forms due to an inversion of the air. “During the presence of an anticyclone, it is possible that the air at altitude warms up while the cold air will persist at low altitude”, explains Guillaume Séchet.

The confrontation between warm air and cold air gives rise to a compact set of clouds.

The founder of Météo Grenoble evokes a “classic situation” which occurs “only in winter”. Seas of clouds tend to form from 1000 meters.

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An altitude where many Isère villages are located, including near Grenoble. Guillaume Séchet takes the example of a sea of ​​clouds currently present in Chamrousse: “It’s magnificent, but these episodes rarely last more than a week”.

Everywhere in France

In the collective unconscious, seas of clouds form in the heart of the mountains. However, Guillaume Séchet specifies that this set of compact clouds “can intervene anywhere in France”.

“We imagine that this occurs exclusively in the mountains, because via the reliefs, it is the only place where we can be above the sea of ​​clouds”, adds the meteorologist with a smile.

Moreover, a sea of ​​clouds, apart from its aesthetic side, is synonym of pollution and depletion of air quality.

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