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    The Four Core Types of Clouds

    While clouds appear in infinite shapes and sizes they fall into some basic forms. From his Essay of the Modifications of Clouds (1803) Luke Howard divided clouds into three categories; cirrus, cumulus and stratus.

    Cirro-form

    The Latin word 'cirro' means curl of hair. Composed of ice crystals, cirro-form clouds are whitish and hair-like. There are the high, wispy clouds to first appear in advance of a low-pressure area such as a mid-latitude storm system or a tropical system such as a hurricane.

    Cumulo-form

    Generally detached clouds, they look like white fluffy cotton balls. They show vertical motion or thermal uplift of air taking place in the atmosphere. They are usually dense in appearance with sharp outlines. The base of cumulus clouds are generally flat and occurs at the altitude where the moisture in rising air condenses.

    Strato-form

    From the Latin word for 'layer' these clouds are usually broad and fairly wide spread appearing like a blanket. They result from non-convective rising air and tend to occur along and to the north of warm fronts. The edges of strato-form clouds are diffuse.

    Nimbo-form

    Howard also designated a special rainy cloud category which combined the three forms Cumulo + Cirro + Stratus. He called this cloud, 'Nimbus', the Latin word for rain. The vast majority of precipitation occurs from nimbo-form clouds and therefore these clouds have the greatest vertical height.

    The Height of Clouds

    The traditional division between the Polar and Temperate Regions is the Arctic Circle (66.5°N) in the Northern Hemisphere and the Antarctic Circle (66.5°S) in the Southern Hemisphere. The division between the Temperate and Tropical Regions are the Tropics of Cancer (23.5°N) in the Northern Hemisphere and the Tropics of Capricorn (23.5°S) in the Southern Hemisphere.

    The division between these regions varies from day to day and season to season. Between the Polar and Temperate Regions lies the jet stream in both hemispheres, while the Sub-Tropical Jet Stream divides the Temperate and Tropical Regions.

    One effect of these cores of strong wind is the maximum altitude of the tropopause decreases in each region as one moves from the equator to the poles. Generally, as the tropopause's height decreases, the elevations at which clouds occur also decreases.

    The exception is for low clouds which are officially said to have cloud bases within the first 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) of the surface in each region. But even that is not always the case.

    The base of cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds can sometimes be higher than 6,500 feet (2,000 meters). During summertime, the base of these convective clouds will be well in to the mid-level cloud range in the non-mountainous areas of the southwest United States.

    Cumulus cloud bases have been observed up to 9,000 feet (2,750 meters) over North Central Texas and thunderstorms, with cloud bases from 11,000 to 12,000 feet (3,350 to 3,650 meters), have occurred near San Angelo, Texas.

    This happens when, despite the dry lower level of the atmosphere, the atmosphere in the mid-levels is fairly moist and unstable. The dryness of the lower level is such that parcels of air need to rise up to two miles (3 km), and sometimes more, before the they cool to the point of condensation.

    Level Polar Region Temperate Region Tropical Region

    High Clouds 10,000-25,000 feet (3-8 km) 16,500-45,000 Feet (5-14 km) 20,000-60,000 feet (6-18 km)

    Mid Clouds 6,500-13,000 feet (2-4 km) 6,500-23,000 feet (2-7 km) 6,500-25,000 feet (2-8 km)

    Low Clouds Surface-6,500 feet (0-2 km) Surface-6,500 feet (0-2 km) Surface-6,500 feet (0-2 km)

    Since the jet stream follows the sun, it shifts toward the equator as winter progresses. Therefore, the polar region expands and the temperate region moves toward the equator. In summer, the Tropical Region expands shifting the temperate region toward the poles while the polar region shrinks.

    The division between these regions varies from day to day and season to season based upon locations of the jet and sub-tropical jet streams.

    Learning Lesson: A 'Hole' Lot of Clouds 1

    स्रोत : www.weather.gov

    Cumulus, Stratus, and Cirrus

    Cumulus, Stratus, and Cirrus

    There are three main cloud types.

    Cumulus clouds are the puffy clouds that look like puffs of cotton. Cumulus clouds that do not get very tall are indicators of fair weather. If they do grow tall, they can turn into thunderstorms. The bottom of cumulus clouds are fairly close to the ground.

    Click on the image to view the large version.Stratus clouds look like flat sheets of clouds. These clouds can mean an overcast day or steady rain. They may stay in one place for several days.

    Click on the image to view the large version.Cirrus clouds are high feathery clouds. They are up so high they are actually made of ice particles. They are indicators of fair weather when they are scattered in a clear blue sky.

    Click on the image to view the large version.

    स्रोत : web.extension.illinois.edu

    Types of Clouds for Kids

    Clouds are made up of very light water droplets or ice crystals. These particles can float in the air. When warm air rises, swells and cools, it forms clouds. Many water droplets formed together scatter reflect sunlight and you see a white could, but with a dark or gray cloud, the sunlight is scattered in all ...

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    Types of Clouds for Kids

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    RELATED

    What Is the Difference Between Cumulus Clouds & Cirrus Clouds?

    Updated March 13, 2018

    By Molly Smith

    Clouds are made up of very light water droplets or ice crystals. These particles can float in the air. When warm air rises, swells and cools, it forms clouds. Many water droplets formed together scatter reflect sunlight and you see a white could, but with a dark or gray cloud, the sunlight is scattered in all directions instead of reflected. The different types of clouds are cumulus, cirrus, stratus and nimbus.

    Cirrus Clouds

    Cirrus clouds are the thin, wispy clouds seen high in the sky. They look as if someone took a cloud, stretched it, pulling pieces off, like a cotton ball when it is pulled apart. They are thin because they are made of ice crystals instead of water droplets. A blue sky and a few cirrus clouds high in the sky, usually means it is going to be a nice day.

    Cumulus Clouds

    Cumulus clouds are the puffy clouds that are usually scattered throughout the sky. In Latin, the word cumulus means pile. Just like when we say “accumulate,” it means things pile up. This type of cloud is formed when warm air rises carrying water vapor with it by evaporation. Cumulus clouds can be white or gray. White fluffy clouds means no rain, but when they form into dark or gray clouds, it is going to rain.

    Stratus Clouds

    Stratus clouds look like a huge thick blanket covering the sky. These clouds are a sure sign of rain if it is warm and snow if it is cold. If stratus clouds are near the ground, they form fog. These clouds form when the weather has been cold and warmer moist air blows in. The amount of moisture in the air and the difference between warm and cold air determine how thick the cloud or fog is.

    Nimbus Clouds

    The word nimbus means a cloud that already has rain or snow falling from it. These clouds are dark and seen during a thunderstorm along with thunder and lightning. They can be a combination of two clouds, like a cumulonimbus, which means a puffy black cloud with rain falling out or it, or a stratonimbus, which is a dark blanket with rain falling out of it.

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    References

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    About the Author

    Based in Indiana, Molly Smith has been writing freelance articles since 2008. She specializes in health and beauty, literature and computer articles. Smith holds an Associate of Science degree in liberal arts with a concentration in English and communications.

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    स्रोत : sciencing.com

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