When I started exploring GOES satellite images of cloud cover (such as this), I noticed clouds could form from "plumes." That is, large clouds could sometimes form by billowing up from one or more very small points. For example, this gif created from GOES-East GeoColor band data on June 13 2021:
I haven't looked at a huge amount of data, but I have noticed this effect is pretty common and is often seen over the Southeast US, Central America, the Caribbean, and the Gulf Stream out to around the middle of the Atlantic. In other words, warm and wet places. :)
My question is: when clouds form in this way, why don't they arise from larger areas -- what makes those specific "cloud source points" special? And when "cloud source points" do form, what keeps them (usually) localized to small regions -- what keeps these small nucleation points (usually) stable against growth in area?