What Are Different Types of Clouds?

What Are Different Types of Clouds?

What Are Different Types of Clouds?

According to the National Weather Service, common clouds that occur high in the atmosphere contain the ciro- prefix and include cirrus clouds, cirrostratus clouds and cirrocumulus clouds. Those that travel at a medium atmospheric altitude use the prefix alto-, and they include altostratus clouds and altocumulus clouds. Clouds that appear low in the atmosphere use either a strato- or cumulo- root, and they include stratocumulus clouds and nimbostratus clouds.

The National Weather Service explains that cirrus clouds are composed entirely of ice crystals, and they may precede a warm front. Cirrostratus clouds are similar but disperse light in a ring-shape pattern. Cirrocumulus clouds are lumpier than other high-level clouds.

At the medium level, altostratus clouds have a consistent texture and may indicate a coming warm front. Altocumulus clouds are heavier and usually appear in row formations.

Stratocumulus clouds appear lower in the atmosphere, usually preceding or following a front. Dense nimbostratus clouds are capable of producing light, steady snow or rain.

A cumulonimbus cloud is most often associated with storms due to its ability to produce heavy downpours, thunder and lightning. The cloud known as a cumulus congestus or towering cumulus can turn into a cumulonimbus cloud with sufficient updrafts.

Other types of clouds include: wall clouds, chelf clouds, fractus clouds, mammatus clouds, contrail clouds, fog and hole-punch clouds.