Name and describe the forms and heights af clouds?



  1. 0 Votes

    UGH! What!> Am I doing your homework for you? I remember when this was my homework back in gradeschool. 1 Cumulonimbus; 2 cirrus; and 3 stratus.  1 Fluffy and full (often darker and full of moisture, rain); 2 whispy, composed of ice crystals (percipitation not guarenteed); 3 whispy and light (often occurring in streaks or waves, similar to jet exhaust). Be careful, if you copy this word for word you will get some points off for spelling (actually, scratch that, I edited it!). Plus you should def put it in ur own words! Actually learn it from the links, hey I took the time to find ’em — the least u can do is ponder! HAHA – wait, things have changed from when I learned this in the late 90’s / early 00’s  check out how many types of clouds these weather geeks categorize now-a-days:



    Cloud Descriptions and Pictures

    This section provides verbal descriptions and pictures of clouds that have been observed in this area. Because of their size, these images have been stored in JPG format. To view a picture, click on the appropriate cloud name or other highlighted text.

    High Clouds are primarily composed of ice crystals and include the following:

    • Cirrus are high altitude wispy clouds. They are usually quite thin and often have a hairlike or filament type of appearance. The curled up ends as depicted in this picture are very common features.
    • Cirrocumulus are high clouds that have a distinct patchy and/or wavelike appearance, such as, in our patchwork cirrocumulus photo, composed of many individual cloud elements, or in our wavy cirrocumulus photo with its banded linear structure. These features are common to all types of cumuloform clouds.
    • Cirrostratus are high clouds that usually blanket the sky in ill-defined sheets. These clouds are usually optically thin and the sun and moon can usually shine some light through. Like other stratiform clouds, one usually can’t detect distinct cells or sharp features. This picture shows the sun shining through a gray, diffuse cirrostratus overcast.

    Middle clouds have many similarities to the cumuloform and stratiform high clouds. Since they are closer to a groundbased observer, the cumuloform elements in particular appear larger than their high cloud counterparts. They can contain ice crystals and/or water droplets and may occasionally be associated with some light precipitation.

    • Altocumulus have distinct cloud elements and are either in a patchy, scattered distribution or can appear in linear bands. The altocumulus in this photo by Jay Shafer consists of a number of individual cloud elements. Jay also took this beautiful sunset photo of altocumulus clouds.
    • Altostratus have a more uniform and diffuse coverage where it is difficult to detect individual elements or features. In this picture, a few altocumulus clouds in the foreground precede a more uniform deck (see arrow) of altostratus.

    Low clouds are most often composed of water droplets, but can have ice crystals in colder climates. Some of these clouds can develop into the multi-level clouds and can go through various phases, such as, a morning stratus deck turning into late morning stratocumulus, then early afternoon cumulus, and vertical development into cumulonimbus which can produce heavy rain and possible lightning and thunder.

    • Cumulus are usually puffy and often have very distinct edges and usually a noticeable vertical development. They often have a popcorn-like appearance. Cells can be rather isolated or they can be grouped together in clusters as shown in this photo. The main cumulus cloud pictured in this view was nearly overhead, so the vertical extent is hidden from view. However, since the sun is on the other side of the cloud, its thickness is evident from the negligible amount of light passing through its center.
    • Stratocumulus can be widely scattered (as depicted in this photo, but are usually concentrated closer together in clusters or layers and have very little vertical development. This photo of a stratocumulus layer from above was taken by Jay Shafer, a Plymouth State meteorology graduate, from Mt. Washington. Jay also went down to a lower elevation and took another photo providing a closeup, side view of a stratocumulus cloud in this deck. These relatively flat clouds usually lack the sharp edges and “popcorn” appearance of most normal cumulus clouds.
    • Stratus are usually the lowest of the low clouds. Stratus often appear as an overcast deck (as shown), but can be scattered. The individual cloud elements have very ill-defined edges compared to most low cumuloform clouds (e.g. cumulus and stratocumulus).
    • Fog can be considered as a low stratus cloud in contact with the ground. When the fog lifts, it usually becomes true stratus. This photo shows fog over the Pemigewasset River basin with clear skies elsewhere.

    Multi-layer clouds are the heavy precipitation producers. The depth of these clouds give precipitation hydrometeors a better environment to develop and grow.

    • Nimbostratus are often included in many texts as low clouds, but here they are considered multi-layer clouds because their vertical extent often goes well into the middle cloud region and these clouds often have even taller cumulonimbus clouds embedded within them. The clouds are very dark, usually overcast, and are associated with large areas of continuous precipitation. If it’s a gray and rainy day as shown in this photo, the sky most will most likely be filled with nimbostratus clouds.
    • Cumulonimbus, as shown in this photo (with cumulus in the foreground), are the clouds that can produce lightning, thunder, heavy rains, hail, strong winds, and tornadoes. They are the tallest of all clouds that can span all cloud layers and extend above 60,000 feet. They usually have large anvil-shaped tops (as shown) which form because of the stronger winds at those higher levels of the atmosphere. This first “cb” picture was taken by Plymouth State student Bill Schmitz from an airplane outside of the New York City area–note the three smaller turrets developing. Another picture shows a view from the ground of a cumulonimbus with a base at around 3,000 feet and vertical development upward to around 30,000 feet – small compared to most thunderstorms which are associated with really severe weather. Sometimes, strong cumulonimbus clouds can have appendages protruding from the base of the cloud, which are called “mammatus” clouds because they resemble the mammary glands of mammals. They indicate that the atmosphere is quite unstable and can also be an indicator of impending severe weather. The picture of mammatus clouds, shown here, was taken by Mark Gibbas, a Plymouth State meteorology alumnus, at Acadia National Park. Additional mammatus photos have also been submitted by Cindy Shannon (image) and Robert Himes (image)
  2. 0 Votes

    Your basic types of clouds can be broken down as follows:

    High-Level Clouds: “cirrus” and “cirrostratus”

    Mid-Level Clouds: “altocumulus” and “altostratus”

    Low-Level Clouds: “nimbostratus” and “stratocumulus”

    Verticle Development: “fair weather cumulus” and “cumulonimbus”

    Other Types: contrails, billow clouds, mammatus, orographic, and pileus 


    You can look to the Latin Roots of the names for a description:

    cumulus means “heap”

    stratus means “layer”

    cirrus means “curl of hair”

    nimbus means “rain”

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