Weather affects every single person on the planet, whether they like it or not. Despite that, it’s incredibly tough for anyone to name the different types of clouds, even though it really shouldn’t be. First up, a definition of a cloud, from wiki:
“…a visible mass of liquid droplets or frozen crystals made of water and/or various chemicals suspended in the atmosphere above the surface of a planetary body.“
Cirrus: Thin wisps of ice-crystal cloud at high altitudes
Cirrostratus: A high-altitude, thin layer of ice-crystal cloud, formed from the spreading out of cirrus. Often shows some fibrous structure.
Cirrocumulus: A high-altitude layer of tiny heaps of ice-crystal cloud with no shading and clear gaps between the cloudlets.
Altostratus: A middle-altitude layer of essentially featureless, white or grey cloud.
Altocumulus: A middle altitude layer of moderate-sized heaps of cloud, with distinct shading and clear gaps between the cloudlets.
Nimbostratus: A dense layer of cloud at middle levels, often extending down close to the surface. Often with a ragged base, and always producing prolonged rain.
Stratocumulus: A widespread layer of heaps or rolls of cloud at a low level, with distinct gaps and heavy shading.
Stratus: An essentially featureless, grey layer of cloud at low level. At ground level, it is mist or fog.
Cumulus: The most familiar cloud. Rounded heaps of white cloud at low levels, generally an indication of currently fine weather.
Cumulonimbus: The giant among clouds, that may tower through all three levels, sometimes with a flattened top (an ‘anvil’). The shower cloud with dark, ragged base and heavy, localized rain, hail, or other severe weather.
And there we have it! Ten major types of clouds, which really aren’t that tough to learn. So on this, World Meteorology Day, learn the clouds, and enjoy the weather! Now, it’s time for a poem:
“Whether the weather be fine, or whether the weather be not, Whether the weather be cold, or whether the weather be hot, We’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather, whether we like it or not!“