At least once in our lifetime, all of us have stared at clouds while enjoying the aesthetics of the moment. But did you know, the clouds, that we stare at are of 10 different varieties. So today, we’ll have a look at the different types of clouds, and also learn how you can identify them.
1. Altocumulus clouds
Altocumulus is one of the most commonly found types of clouds, which appear to be round white and grey patches. They are like a heap, often grouped together in parallel lines. They share a close resemblance with tufts of wool or fish scales. They do not predict any weather and, are found at mid-level in the sky.
2. Altostratus clouds
This is another cloud variant found on the mid-level of the sky. Altostratus clouds look like white or gray layer that envelops the sky. When these clouds appear, they are thick and flat and you cannot find any patches in the sky. The only thing visible is the sun as a dimly lit disk behind the clouds. While they are in the sky, you can barely see the shadows.
3. Cirrocumulus clouds
Cirrocumulus clouds are rows of small patchy clouds that are white or grey. Typically seen in sunny and cold weather, these types of clouds are found in high altitudes and, are made of ice crystals. Commonly arranged in parallel rows, they are, unlike others, very small in size and rare to spot since they don’t last long.
Cirrostratus clouds are transparent, wispy clouds that are known to cover almost all of the sky. The best way to identify them is through their structure of a halo or a ring of light surrounding the sun or moon. They too are found in high altitudes, and they signify that precipitation might follow in the next 12 to 24 hours or as soon as 6–8 hours if the front is fast-moving.
5. Cirrus clouds
Another form of wispy clouds, Cirrus clouds are located high in the atmosphere. They are feathery, thin, and white, making a significantly large portion of the blue sky visible. They signify that a warm front or large storm is approaching, but they can even be spotted during fair weather.
6. Cumulonimbus clouds
Cumulonimbus is the classic thunderstorm cloud, which is dark in clour and is large towering. When you spot them, it is a clear signal of the storm arriving. They can be as large as a mountain and are found usually on low levels of the sky.
7. Cumulus clouds
Cumulus clouds are the stereotypical puffy clouds, the kind of which we usually drew as kids. They are dense individual clouds that are bright white on top and gray underneath. They are known to appear during sunny days with their shape which is very similar to that of a cauliflower. Located at low levels, their glimpse, surely makes the sky joyful.
8. Nimbostratus clouds
Nimbostratus clouds appear during steady rain and snow and form a thick dark layer across the sky. They are thick enough to blot out the sun, and like cumulonimbus clouds, they too are associated with heavy precipitation. What makes them different is that unlike cumulonimbus, you can’t pick out individual nimbostratus clouds.
9. Stratocumulus clouds
Stratocumulus clouds are very similar to cumulus clouds, the only difference is that they are flatter, thicker, and darker. Located in the low levels of the sky, they appear when the weather is more cloudy and not much sunny such that minimal sky is visible between these clouds. They seem to before or after a front, when there is weak convection in the atmosphere.
10. Stratus clouds
Stratus clouds are very similar to fog. They are a grayish layer of clouds that cover almost the whole of the sky. They appear during Gloomy weather, and sometimes even with light precipitation. Located in the low levels, you must have easily spotted them, especially during the rains.