The clouds above: Part Two

Everything you need to know about clouds – the continuing story!

Everything you need to know about clouds


NOEL KIRKPATRICK
August 13, 2018.

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Cirrus clouds have a silky, hair-like appearance. (Photo: Fir0002/Flagstaffoto/Wikimedia Commons)

1. Cirrus. Cirrus clouds are wispy and hair-like, and when viewed from below, they appear to have little to no structure. Inside, cirrus clouds are comprised almost entirely of ice crystals.

Cirrocumulus clouds can sometimes appear a little patchworked. (Photo: Indrajit Das/Wikimedia Commons)

2. Cirrocumulus. Cirrocumulus clouds are similar to a well-worn basic sheet: thin and white. These clouds also have super-cooled water droplets within them. Technically, each individual cloud is referred to as cirrocumulus, but the term can also be used to refer to the entire sheet. If the term is used that way, each individual cloud is a cloudlet.

Cirrostratus have a way of making themselves known. (Photo: The High Fin Sperm Whale/Wikimedia Commons)

3. Cirrostratus. Cirrostratus clouds are a white-ish veil that totally or partially covers the sky. They often produce the halo effect you see above.

Altocumulus clouds occur in a few different types, not just these balls of fluff. (Photo: Fir0002/Wikimedia Commons)

4. Altocumulus. Altocumulus clouds come in several forms, though they mostly look like rounded masses. They can appear as a sheet or a layer, like the above image.

Thicker layers of altostratus can be difficult to see through. (Photo: Simon Eugster/Wikimedia Commons)

5. Altostratus. This cloud sheet completely covers the sky, but will have sections thin enough that reveal the sun, “as through ground glass or frosted glass,” according to the WMO. Unlike cirrostratus clouds, there is no halo produced.

Nimbostratus clouds are thick enough to block out the sun. (Photo: Eric T Gunther/Wikimedia Commons)

6. Nimbostratus. While they don’t have many distinct features, nimbostratus clouds are a gray cloud layer. They’re thicker than altostratus clouds, and their bases often produce rain or snow.

Stratocumulus clouds almost always have dark parts. (Photo: Famartin/Wikimedia Commons)

7. Stratocumulus. Characterized by dark, rounded masses, stratoculumus clouds appear either as a uniform sheet or layer, or they have a corrugated base.

Stratus clouds look a lot like nimbostratus clouds. (Photo: LivingShadow/Wikimedia Commons)

8. Stratus. Stratus clouds are gray layers, sometimes with variances in their luminescence. If the sun is out, its brightness can help you to see the outline of the clouds. The bases of stratus clouds will produce light snow or drizzle.

Cumulus clouds have a distinct outline. (Photo: Korionov/Shutterstock)

9. Cumulus. Quintessential clouds, cumulus clouds are detached and dense. The parts lit by sunlight are bright white while their bases tend to be a uniform dark color.

Cumulonimbus clouds have a flat top that is somewhat anvil-shaped. (Photo: kazoka/Shutterstock)

10. Cumulonimbus. Cumulonimbus clouds are heavy and dense, with often tall, vertical towers. They’re referred to as thunderheads if they’re observed during a storm. They’re capable of producing lightning and tornadoes.

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Hope you can come back tomorrow for Part Three: Cloud Species!

16 thoughts on “The clouds above: Part Two

    1. Yep! No better indicator of the weather for, say, the next twenty-four hours that that rather grand weather station above our heads. Thank you, John. Hope the weekend isn’t too crappy!

      1. Well, we rescued a terribly beaten up old girl last Friday. Skin and bones, broken leg, and ghastly paw wound. She’s had a terrible week, but is mending, and today (between the rain) we’re taking her for Hi-Hello (short) walks with each member of her new family.

      2. Unfortunately, she can’t keep anything down. We had a few days where everything seemed to settle down to the point where she filled out just a little, enough to be noticed, but the last 48hrs has been vomit after vomit. Long road ahead.

      3. Max is living proof of why we must rescue dogs when needs must! I’ll show these two photos to Jeannie in a moment. I know she will react just as I have done! Well done all!

  1. Love clouds. Cirrus and Cumulus are my favorites. Great info on them. Thanks to your friend John for rescuing loved ones. There are not enough who do that.

    1. Anita, our DVM friend is coming to the house this evening and I have already mentioned to him that I will be raising your regurgitation issue (I mean your dog’s!!). It is going to be discussed.

  2. Love the clouds… But I never remember the names except for basic cirrus, cumulus, definitions.

    Hope John Zande manages to keep his new rescue alive. What a good-hearted man! ❤️❤️

    1. So say all of us, Colette. And, hopefully, this series of posts can act as a reference for you and others, including me, who want to go beyond just names of those clouds above us.

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