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Unit 4: Clouds Types

Posted by KCRG-TV9 First Alert Weather on Wednesday, May 13, 2020

High Clouds

Cirrus: Around 15,000-25,000 feet above the cirrus and rain will not form from these. Made of ice crystals. Usually very thin and white in appearance. Other types: Cirrocumulus & Cirrostratus.

Mid-Level Clouds:

Around 6,500-20,000 feet above the surface. Composed of generally water droplets, but if they are cold enough can also have ice crystals. Types: Altocumulus & Altostratus

Low Clouds:

Normally below 6,500 feet and are mostly composed of water droplets. May contain precipitation. Types: Stratus, Stratocumulus, & Nimbostratus.

  • Stratus: Around 2,000 feet above the surface and are associated with rain. Can be difficult to detect, even in short-term forecasts. These can also cause temperatures to be lower during the day and not allow temperatures to drop as fast at night. Uniform, gray color.

Clouds with Vertical Growth:

These clouds can grow in height up to 39,000 feet and release energy through condensation of water vapor within the cloud.

  • Cumulus: Most common cloud type. Around 5,000 feet above the surface. Most of the time they don’t produce rain. Only when the air is super cold above us, can they cause a little bit of rain. The gray bottom on clouds, even through there is a blue sky is actually a cloud shadow.
  • Cumulonimbus: Storms can form from these types of clouds.

Cloud Sorting Game: https://scied.ucar.edu/cloud-sorting-game

Cloud Memory Game: https://scied.ucar.edu/clouds-memory-game