10 types of clouds

aerial view of cloudscape

Cloud are visible mass of condensed water vapor floating in the atmosphere, typically high above the ground.

The following are types of clouds

High clouds


Cirrus are detached clouds in the form of white, delicate filaments, mostly white patches or narrow bands.

They may have a fibrous (hair-like) and/or silky sheen appearance.

Cirrus clouds are always composed of ice crystals, and their transparent character depends upon the degree of separation of the crystals.

As a rule, when these clouds cross the sun’s disk they hardly diminish its brightness.

Before sunrise and after sunset, cirrus is often colored bright yellow or red. These clouds are lit up long before other clouds and fade out much lately.


Cirrostratus are transparent, whitish veil clouds with a fibrous (hair-like) or smooth appearance.

A sheet of cirrostratus which is very extensive, nearly always ends by covering the whole sky.

A milky veil of fog (or thin Stratus) is distinguished from a veil of Cirrostratus of a similar appearance by the halo phenomena which the sun or the moon nearly always produces in a layer of cirrostratus.


Cirrocumulus are thin, white patches, sheets, or layered clouds without shading.

They are composed of very small elements in the form of more or less regularly arranged grains or ripples.

In general, Cirrocumulus represents a degraded state of cirrus and cirrostratus both of which may change into it and is an uncommon cloud.

There will be a connection with cirrus or cirrostratus and will show some characteristics of ice crystal clouds.

Mid clouds


Altostratus are gray or bluish cloud sheets or layers of striated or fibrous clouds that totally or partially covers the sky.

They are thin enough to regularly reveal the sun as if seen through ground glass.

Altostratus clouds do not produce a halo phenomenon nor are the shadows of objects on the ground visible.

Sometimes virga is seen hanging from Altostratus, and at times may even reach the ground causing very light precipitation.


Altocumulus are white and/or gray patch, sheet or layered clouds, generally composed of laminae (plates), rounded masses or rolls.

They may be partly fibrous or diffuse.

When the edge or a thin semitransparent patch of altocumulus passes in front of the sun or moon a corona appears.

This colored ring has red on the outside and blue inside and occurs within a few degrees of the sun or moon.


Nimbostratus are continuous rain clouds Resulting from thickening Altostratus, This is a dark gray cloud layer diffused by falling rain or snow.

It is thick enough throughout to blot out the sun. The cloud base lowers into the low level of clouds as precipitation continues.

Also, low, ragged clouds frequently occur beneath this cloud which sometimes merges with its base.

Lower clouds


Cumulus are detached, generally dense clouds with sharp outlines that develop vertically in the form of rising mounds, domes, or towers with bulging upper parts often resembling a cauliflower.

The sunlit parts of these clouds are mostly brilliant white while their bases are relatively dark and horizontal.

Overland cumulus develops on days of clear skies, and is due to diurnal convection; it appears in the morning, grows, and then more or less dissolves again toward evening.

Image result for Cumulus


Stratus is generally gray cloud layers with a uniform base that may if thick enough, produce drizzle, ice prisms, or snow grains.

When the sun is visible through this cloud, its outline is clearly discernible.

Often when a layer of Stratus breaks up and dissipates blue sky is seen.


Cumulonimbus,  are thunderstorm clouds, this is a heavy and dense clouds in the form of a mountain or huge tower.

The upper portion is usually smoothed, fibrous, or striated and nearly always flattened in the shape of an anvil or vast plume.

Under the base of this cloud which is often very dark, there are often low ragged clouds that may or may not merge with the base.

They produce precipitation, which sometimes is in the form of virga. Cumulonimbus clouds also produce hail and tornadoes.


Stratocumulus is the gray or whitish patch, sheet, or layered clouds which almost always have dark tessellations (honeycomb appearance), rounded masses, or rolls.

Except for virga they are non-fibrous and may or may not be merged.

They also have regularly arranged small elements with an apparent width of more than five degrees (three fingers – at arm’s length).

Image result for stratocumulus

3 thoughts on “10 types of clouds”

  1. Pingback: The whole mechanism of cloud formation.

  2. Pingback: The core 4 types of cloud forms


Comments are closed.