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Basic Cloud Types. What type(s) of clouds are pictured here?. High Clouds:. Middle Clouds:. Low Clouds:. Clouds are classified by what vertical level their bases (or bottoms) form at:. Low Clouds:. Low clouds can be on the ground (fog) to ~6,000’ above the surface. 6,000 ft above ground.

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basic cloud types

Basic Cloud Types

What type(s) of clouds are pictured here?

clouds are classified by what vertical level their bases or bottoms form at
High Clouds:

Middle Clouds:

Low Clouds:

Clouds are classified by what vertical level their bases (or bottoms) form at:

low clouds

Low Clouds:

  • Low clouds can be on the ground (fog) to ~6,000’ above the surface.

6,000 ft above ground

  • Five low cloud types:
    • Cumulus
    • Stratus and Fog
    • Stratocumulus
    • Nimbostratus
    • Cumulonimbus

Lyndon State

Green Mountains

slide4
Cumulus

Stratus: Layered or flat

looking and grayish

Stratus

Cumulus: Heaped or lumpy

looking, most commonly

portrayed type in art, film

slide5
Stratocumulus

Fog: when a stratus cloud

touches the ground

Fog

Stratocumulus: looks both

lumpy and layered, flatter than

cumulus but more lumpy than

stratus

slide6
Nimbostratus

Cumulonimbus: a cumulus

cloud that has precipitation

falling from it and

reaching the ground

Cumulonimbus

Nimbostratus: a stratus cloud

that's precipitating – rain

and/or snow is falling from

the cloud and reaching the

ground

*Nimbus = precipitating

middle clouds
Green Mountains

Middle Clouds:

  • Middle clouds can extend from ~6,000’ to ~20,000’ above
  • the surface.

~20,000 ft above ground

  • Two basic middle cloud types “Alto” prefix:
    • Altocumulus
    • Altostratus

6,000 ft above ground

Lyndon State

slide8
Altocumulus

Altostratus: layered and flat,

but higher than stratus

Altostratus

Altocumulus: look like cotton

balls, about the size of your

fist or smaller if you extend

your arm and look towards

them

high clouds
~20,000 ft above ground

~40,000 ft above ground

High Clouds:

  • High clouds can extend from ~20,000’ to 40,000’ above the surface.
  • Three basic high cloud types “cirro” prefix:
    • Cirrus
    • Cirrostratus
    • Cirrocumulus

6,000 ft above ground

Lyndon State

slide10
Cirrus

Cirrostratus: wispy - especially

on the edges, flat and fairly

white, organized in sheets or

layers

Cirrostratus

Cirrus: appear wispy in pieces

or small patches, not organized

in sheets

slide11
Cirrocumulus: fairly rare, look

like small cotton balls, about

the size of your pinky when

you extend your arm and look

at the cloud elements.

Cirrocumulus

special clouds
ContrailSpecial Clouds
  • Contrail: short for “condensation trail” – forms when water from air plane
  • exhaust forms clouds behind the plane

Lenticular: type of mid-level cloud

Produced by airflow over terrain,

frequently mistaken for UFOs

Lenticular

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