The classification of clouds

Cirrus clouds do not produce precipitation which reaches the ground, though streaks of particles known as fall streaks are often observed below these clouds.

The constituent varieties and associated supplementary features and mother clouds for each genus or species are arranged in approximate order of frequency of occurrence. When sections of the water starts to freeze, the surrounding water vapor will also freeze and begin to descend.

Mid Level Clouds — Base is usually between 6,ft and 20,ft with some exceptions. Clouds having vertical development include cumulus, a thick, detached cloud, generally associated with fair weather, usually with a horizontal base and a dome-shaped upper surface that frequently resembles a head of cauliflower and shows strong contrasts of light and shadow when the sun illuminates it from the side, and cumulonimbus, the thunderstorm cloud, heavy masses of great vertical development whose summits rise in the form of mountains or towers, the upper parts having a fibrous texture, often spreading out in the shape of an anvil, and sometimes reaching the stratosphere.

High-level clouds are typically thin and white in appearance, but can appear in a magnificent array of colors when the sun is low on the horizon. High-Level Clouds High-level clouds form above 20, feet 6, meters and since the temperatures are so cold at such high elevations, these clouds are primarily composed of ice crystals.

Types of clouds and their meanings

These types are Cirrus meaning hair like , Stratus meaning layer , Cumulus meaning pile and Nimbus meaning rain producing. Each main classification may be further subdivided to provide a means of identifying the many variations which are observed in the atmosphere. As is indicated in the above table different types of cloud are formed in different atmospheric conditions — temperature — humidity — dynamics — stability. From a microphysical point of view, clouds may be liquid, mixed phase, or ice and different microphysical processes are involved in each case. High Level Clouds — Base is usually above 20,ft Cirrus Base is typically between 20, and 40,ft in the UK, and may be considerably higher in the tropics. The fourth group consists of vertically developed clouds, while the final group consists of a collection of miscellaneous cloud types. High-level clouds are typically thin and white in appearance, but can appear in a magnificent array of colors when the sun is low on the horizon. In fact, their name depends on the degree of vertical development. The theory on its creation is that a disruption of the cloud layer stability, which can be caused by a passing jet aircraft, creates a descending motion that can lead to the stimulation of evaporation, producing a hole. Today's classification has four main divisions: high clouds, 20, to 40, ft 6,—12, m ; intermediate clouds, 6, to 20, ft 1,—6, m ; low clouds, near ground level to 6, ft 1, m ; and clouds with vertical development, 1, ft to over 20, ft —6, m. Table of Cloud Types Low Level Cloud - Base is usually below 6,ft Cumulus These clouds usually form at altitudes between 1, and 5,ft, though often temperature rises after formation lead to an increase in cloud base height. Cirrus clouds do not produce precipitation which reaches the ground, though streaks of particles known as fall streaks are often observed below these clouds.

Non-vertical genus types including some genus sub-types are sorted into approximate descending order of altitude of the cloud bases. If enough atmospheric instability, moisture, and lift are present, then strong updrafts can develop in the cumulus cloud leading to a mature, deep cumulonimbus cloud, i.

3 types of clouds

Today's classification has four main divisions: high clouds, 20, to 40, ft 6,—12, m ; intermediate clouds, 6, to 20, ft 1,—6, m ; low clouds, near ground level to 6, ft 1, m ; and clouds with vertical development, 1, ft to over 20, ft —6, m. Altostratus Cloud base ranges between 10, and 20,ft. Because of their lower altitudes, they are composed primarily of water droplets, however, they can also be composed of ice crystals when temperatures are cold enough. Low-level clouds: Low-level clouds are not given a prefix, although their names are derived from "strato-" or "cumulo-", depending on their characteristics. The fourth group consists of vertically developed clouds, while the final group consists of a collection of miscellaneous cloud types. Cirrostratus A thin high level layer cloud, which often produce halos and through which the outline of the sun is generally visible. Cumulonimbus Cloud base is typically between 2, and 5,ft, though in some cases this may be lower or higher. Thick stratus can produce considerable precipitation, particularly in hilly or coastal regions, though in some cases this precipitation may be falling from higher clouds such as nimbostratus. If enough atmospheric instability, moisture, and lift are present, then strong updrafts can develop in the cumulus cloud leading to a mature, deep cumulonimbus cloud, i. On the cross-classification table, forms and genus types including some genus sub-types are shown from left to right in approximate ascending order of instability. Like cirrocumulus, altocumulus may align in rows or streets of clouds, with cloud axes indicating localized areas of ascending, moist air, and clear zones between rows suggesting locally descending, drier air. In section six, the cloud types in the general lists and the mother clouds in the applicable classification table are sorted in alphabetical order except where noted.

This cloud may be at similar altitudes to cirrus cloud due to the lower height of the tropopause at the poles. Various halos and other optical effects may be produced by cirrus cloud.

classification of clouds pdf

While not generally producing precipitation these clouds may produce drizzle, particularly in hilly or coastal areas, and may be thick enough to obscure the sun or moon.

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Cloud names and classifications