A couple of similar fascinating photos of clouds are floating around on Twitter, supposedly showing a cumulonimbus cloud near Genoa, or “Genova”, Italy shot by Roberto Orlando.
One of them, #1 below, looks like there is a possibility it is smoke from a vegetation fire with a large plume that develops into a huge anvil-shaped pyrocumulus cloud. One feature that makes it look similar to a smoke column is that it appears to be close to the ground — however you can’t see the ground. It was shot with a 34mm lens (see below), so it was either an extremely large cloud, or it was not very far away — or both.
The other, #2, looks like a large cumulonimbus, but with a slight possibility of a smoke column on the right side. Both seem to have been shot minutes before sunset (this one was probably shot last), giving the clouds an orange/red tint.
Both of the tweets said the photos are from September 19. We checked, and the MODIS heat sensing satellite did not detect any large fires near Genoa, Italy on that date this year or on any Sept. 19 in the last five years.
At first I wondered if one or both were fake images, but a search found an account for Roberto Orlando on 500px that has photo #1, titled “Genoa, Just a cloud”. The metadata for the image says: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100, 34mm, 1/500s, ISO 200 .
Spectacular updraft and anvil on the storm over Genova, NW Italy on Sept 19. Great view by Roberto Orlando pic.twitter.com/UOXs4XaNbi
— severe-weather.EU (@severeweatherEU) September 24, 2017
— Mark Tarello (@mark_tarello) September 24, 2017
The image below is from Roberto Orlando’s 500px page: