Do You Know The Main Types of Clouds?

types of cloud

Do you know what kind of cloud this is?

It is always fun to look up in the sky at the different types of clouds and find different animals and shapes.  But, do you actually know what those different types of clouds are that you are looking at?

Scientists always do a good job of organizing and classifying the natural world into ways that are easy to understand.  Scientists name ten basic types of clouds.  The type of cloud depends on what it looks like and where it forms in the sky (how high or low up in the sky it is).  Here are the main types of clouds and what they look like.

The Name Of A Cloud Gives Clue As To Where It Is

Clouds from in the atmosphere at many different heights from the earth – from close to the ground up to over 18,000 feet high.

Cirrus – Clouds that start with cirrus are the highest up in the atmosphere, above 18,000 feet.  They are very thin and wispy looking.  These usually mean a change in weather is coming.

Alto – These are the middle clouds from 6,500 feet up to 18,000 feet.

Stratus – These are the low clouds from the ground up to 6,500 feet.  These are flat and often look like they are in layers.

Cumulus – These clouds grow vertically, meaning they can grow taller and taller.  They look puffy, almost like cotton floating up in the sky.

Nimbus – These clouds bring rain or snow.

The Ten Main Types of Clouds

High Clouds

cirrus, clouds

A cirrus cloud is very high up in the sky.

Cirrus clouds are very high, thin, wispy clouds.

Also high clouds are cirrostratus and cirrocumulus.

Medium Clouds

types of clouds, altocumulus

An altocumulus cloud.

Altostratus, and altocumulus.

Low Clouds

Stratus, stratocumulus, and nimbostratus.

The Clouds That Grow Tall

clouds, cumulonimbus,

A big, towering cumulonimbus cloud often brings thunderstorms.

Cumulus, and cumulonimbus