Cloud formation - How clouds form and different types of clouds
• Imagine a block of air, or air parcel, rising
upward through the atmosphere.
• The air parcel expands as it rises and this
expansion and causes the temperature of the
air parcel to decrease.
• As the parcel rises the air is cooler.
• Cold air holds less water than hot air,
therefore, the water vapor gets closer
together, and cloud droplets begin forming.
Water vapor combing to
make water droplets
• This can happen through many different ways
– Convection Currents
– Frontal Activity
• There are many different types of clouds.
They are classified as:
• High Altitude
• Middle Altitude
• HIGH ALTITUDE CLOUDS:
• Cirrocumulus – Puffy, patchy look with spaces
• Cirrostratus – light gray or white, thin, covers
most of the sky.
• Cirrus – thin wispy and feathery appearance
• MIDDLE ATLTITUDE CLOUDS:
• Altocumulus – puffy, patchy look with spaces
• Altostratus – light gray and uniform in
appearance. Covers most of the sky.
• LOW ATITUDE CLOUDS:
• Cumulus – puffy, looks like cotton balls/popcorn
• Stratus – light/dark gray and uniform. Fog!
• Stratocumulus – irregular masses, rolling or puffy with
• Nimbostratus – dark gray with precipitation falling from
them. Bases are hard to see b/c of rain.
• Cumulonimbus – large clouds w/ dark bases and tall
billowing towers. Also known as “Thunder Clouds”