No understanding of weather would be complete without learning about clouds. Clouds form when tiny water droplets in the air come together. Stratus are layered clouds. Cumulus are puffy clouds. Cirrus are wispy clouds. Nimbus are rain clouds.
Meteorologists combine these basic names to describe clouds and how high they are in the atmosphere.
l. High clouds are found at the top of the troposphere (the layer of the atmosphere closest to Earth) and are always above 10,000 feet. These include: cirrus clouds (high wispy), cirrostratus clouds (high wispy and layered) and cirrocumulus clouds (high wispy and puffy).
ll. Middle clouds are found between 6,500 feet and 26,000 feet and include: altostratus clouds (middle layered) and altocumulus (middle puffy).
lll. Low clouds are found between the ground and 6,500 feet and include: stratus clouds (layered), stratocumulus clouds (low layered and puffy) and nimbostratus (rainy and layered).
lV. Clouds that Grow and Rise include: cumulus clouds (puffy) and cumulonimbus clouds (rainy and puffy).
Airplanes flying at high altitudes can even form clouds. Contrails are cirrus-like trails of clouds that follow high-flying planes across the sky.
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Amsel, Sheri. "Clouds" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2020. January 26, 2020
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