Have you ever spent time staring at the sky and wondering what the different clouds look like? You must have, at some point in your life.
No two clouds are alike. The clouds are a daily, ongoing wonder, if you think about it. And we can all access and appreciate them, if we want to.
Some people know this and do appreciate the clouds. Some have even joined the Cloud Appreciation Society where cloud lovers around the world are united and share cloud photos.
The first step towards greater cloud appreciation is to understand the clouds. And this starts with the categorisation into cloud types.
So, below we go through the 6 most essential cloud types you should know. Happy cloud spotting!
The most commonly found clouds that appear as small fluffy parcels in the sky are called cumulus.
They form by convection currents as the warm air rises into the sky as an updraft and condenses in the sky as these fluffy clouds. Different cloud shapes have different meanings.
The cumulus type of clouds usually signals pleasant weather for you to enjoy.
These are the mushroom-shaped clouds that sometimes appear during thunderstorms, lightning or heavy rain.
They are truly nature’s wonder to see and can grow to become very tall. These clouds form when the updrafts are very strong. Some of the tallest cumulonimbus clouds can grow to be as tall as 60000 feet.
Moreover, some of these clouds can even transform into the disastrous tornadoes.
Do you remember looking up in the sky on a dreary day and predicting a lot of rain?
This carpet of grey clouds that you often see in this weather is called stratus. It forms by the migrating clouds colliding with one another and excessive warm air condensing uniformly to form a thick layer.
These clouds can last for many days and often result in constant rain or snow until they clear up.
As the skies clear and the sun shines once again, you can also observe the thin wispy, feather-like clouds in the sky. Often referred to simply as “feather clouds”.
These clouds really give beautiful sunsets and are higher in the sky than usual clouds. Their formation may amaze you, as tiny crystals of ice that form them!
However, these clouds are a warning sign. They may look cheerful, but they are often the sign of a gloomy, stormy weather ahead. Sailors and weather forecasters often use these clouds as signals to return home before they are caught at sea.
These beautiful cloud formations form around the summit of a mountain or hilltop. It is circular in shape and surrounds the mountain in a perfectly geometrical manner.
They usually form as the wind blows up the mountain and condenses to form a stationary cloud. Although these clouds can result in a mild drizzle they often signal pleasant weather.
However, their strange shape often results in people mistaking for UFOs!
These clouds are a strange and rare phenomenon. They look like fluffy bubbles in the sky.
We do not know what causes them. However, they do indicate harsh weather. Therefore, even if they look pleasant they do not necessarily mean the same. Such clouds often alert weather guard and pilots of potential oncoming danger.
There are so many different clouds out there. It can be quite mesmerising to figure out and name each one of them.