All About Clouds

By Noah Hattori

So what is a cloud?

A cloud is a mass of suspended water drops or ice crystals. They are formed by the sun heating up the Earth, which causes water to evaporate. Then, when the water droplets cool as they get higher in the troposphere, they condensate, forming clouds. When the cloud gets to much water in them, the drops fall in the form of precipitation.

The 3 Main Types of Clouds

Other Types of Clouds

Cumulonimbus

Cumulonimbus means "cumulus" and "rain". Cumulonimbus clouds have flat anvil shaped tops, reaching 15-22 kilometers at most. Their shape is formed by strong winds in the stratosphere, also known as jet streams. They may bring tornadoes, thunderstorms, and hail.

Nimbostratus

A stratus cloud that looks wet and is a darker gray than regular stratus clouds. This cloud is associated with continuously falling light or moderate precipitation.

Altostratus

Stratus clouds that are at 2-7 kilometers in the atmosphere. It has all the same characteristics of the regular stratus clouds.

Cirrostratus

Stratus clouds that are 7+ kilometers in the atmosphere. Just like the altostratus clouds, it has the same qualities of the regular stratus clouds.

Altocumulus

Altocumulus clouds are cumulus clouds that are 2-7 kilometers, in the atmosphere. It has the same characteristics as the regular cumulus clouds.

Cirrocumulus

Cirrocumulus clouds are cumulus clouds 7+ kilometers in the atmosphere. Like the altocumulus, it has all the same characteristics as the cumulus clouds.

Go to the website above for pictures of all the clouds.