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A Simple Guide to the Clouds - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Teacher’s Notes. A Simple Guide to the Clouds. In this file you can learn about the ten main types of cloud and how you could begin to recognise them. Make use of the forward arrow button to move through the program.

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A Simple Guide to the Clouds

In this file you can learn about the ten main types of cloud and how you could begin to recognise them.

Make use of the forward

arrow button to move through the program.

Special thanks to Malcolm Walker, of the Royal Meteorological Society, for checking this presentation.

User Notes

The text on the cloud diagram page is hyper-linked. Each link will take you to a page with a picture and some writing.

Clicking the cloud button will return you to the main cloud diagram page.


What is a cloud? Well it is certainly not cotton wool!

Depending on the type of cloud, it is made of water in various forms. It can be particles of ice or water droplets.

In this presentation the shapes of clouds are described as;

Hair-like, lumps, layers or a mixture of lumps and layers.

The clouds are grouped into different heights;

Low level (0-2 km.)

Middle level (2-6 km.)

High level (6+ km.)

The ten main cloud types

Cirrus Ci.   Cirrocumulus  Cc.   Cirrostratus Cs.   Altocumulus Ac.   Altostratus As.   Nimbostratus Ns.   Stratocumulus Sc.   Stratus St.   Cumulus Cu.   CumulonimbusCb.

Their abbreviations are shown after their names

CirrusThese clouds are hair-like wisps. They are made of ice crystals. They are found high in the sky where it is very cold.


CirrocumulusThese clouds look like tiny lumps. They have clear gaps between them. They are ice crystals high in the sky.


CirrostratusThese clouds are featureless sheets at high levels. These can signal approaching bad weather.


AltocumulusThese clouds are at mid-level in the sky. They are formed from clear lumps with gaps between them.


AltostratusThese are made of sheets of featureless clouds at a medium level in the sky.


NimbostratusThese dark grey clouds, found at middle levels, often also extend lower down. They can bring heavy rain. The rain can be seen falling in this picture.


StratocumulusThis is a mixture of both lumps and layers. There can be some gaps in the clouds. It is a low level cloud.


StratusThis featureless, grey cloud can be found at low levels. If it was any lower it would be fog.


CumulusThese low level clouds are made of fluffy white rounded heaps.


CumulonimbusThese are very large towering clouds. They extend to great heights. They often bring heavy precipitation. It can be a giant storm cloud.



The previous pages form a very basic introduction to the study of clouds. It is also only one interpretation of the facts. Difference sources will contain subtle differences.

On the next page is a quiz to test what you have learnt. Click in the column that best describes each cloud.


Well done!

(Hope you did not cheat)

Now return to the quiz or exit




Oh dear, wrong selection

Have a look at the cloud page to revise your choice or return to the quiz. If you have finished click on exit.




Cloud Watch

Certificate of Achievement

This is to certify that


has learnt about clouds; their names and their characteristics.



This presentation will give examples and descriptions of the ten basic cloud types.

There are ten main types of clouds. However, there are also further descriptions of clouds. There are species, varieties, accessory clouds and supplementary features.

Basic clouds can be described by what they look like and at what height level they are found in the sky. You may notice that on the ‘types of cloud’ page there was an unlabeled cloud. This is a cumulonimbus, which in some instances is described as a giant cloud. For the purposes of this presentation it has been left as a ‘lump’. This could form the basis of further investigation.

The images of the clouds are described as best as can be. If they are considered to be wrongly titled then perhaps the user will make use of the image to make other teaching points. Feel free to modify the text as desired.

Users are urged to use this material as an introduction to the study of the clouds, not as a definite explanation of the sky. Users may also note that different books have different explanations.

Alan Rodgers

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