Looking at clouds helps us make sense of the weather. Clouds form when tiny water droplets in the air join together and get bigger. Stratus clouds are layered clouds. Cumulus clouds are puffy clouds. Cirrus clouds are wispy clouds. Nimbus clouds are rain clouds.
People who study the weather are called meteorologists. They put together words to describe clouds. Here are what the different clouds look like (look at the diagram too).
l. High clouds are found at the top of the atmosphere layer that lies closest to Earth (the troposphere). High clouds are always above 10,000 feet. High clouds include: cirrus clouds that are high and wispy, cirrostratus clouds that are high, wispy and layered, and cirrocumulus clouds that are high, wispy and puffy.
ll. Middle clouds are found between 6,500 feet and 26,000 feet up in the sky. They include: altostratus clouds that are layered and about midway up in the sky and altocumulus that are puffy and about midway up in the sky.
lll. Low clouds are found between the ground and up to 6,500 feet. They include: stratus clouds that are layered, stratocumulus clouds that are low, layered and puffy, and nimbostratus that are rainy and layered.
lV. Clouds that Grow and Rise include: cumulus clouds that are puffy and cumulonimbus clouds that are 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 (Elementary)" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2020. January 21, 2020
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