Weather Tidbits: Cloud Types

This Weather Tidbits explores cloud types. Clouds are classified in two ways, by height and form. The three forms are cirrus, cumulus & stratus; while the three heights are high, middle & low.

Cirrus are high, white thin clouds which form into wispy fibers & look feathery. Cumulus are known for having a flat base and appear as rising dome, and look like cauliflowers. Stratus look like sheets or layers & cover the majority of the sky, and are not individualistic.

High clouds have the prefix cirro-, look thin & white and are composed of ice crystals; and consist of cirrus, cirrocumulus & cirrostratus. Middle clouds have the prefix alto-, and are composed of either ice crystals, water droplets or a mix of both; and are primarily altocumulus & altostratus but sometimes nimbostratus. Low clouds have the prefix strato-, are made of water droplets; and consist of stratocumulus & stratus along with nimbostratus. The fourth type are called vertical development clouds, these clouds tend to extend vertically over height ranges or cloud levels; and consist of cumulus & cumulonimbus.



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