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They resemble fog that does not reach the ground. Nimbostratus are dark, low-level clouds accompanied by light to moderately falling precipitation. The small, white, puffy clouds that sometimes slowly drift across the sky can look like dozens, of small, loose cottonballs. This is Altocumulus and it forms between 8,000-18,000 ft (2.5-5.5 km). Cirrus clouds are the highest in elevation, which form above 20,000 feet. The temperature at that elevation is so cold that cirrus clouds are usually composed of ice crystals. cirrostratus cloud Cirrostratus may cover the sky as a continuous sheet with no features, but it often has a fibrous look. The cloud is so thin it is almost transparent. cirrocumulus cloud Cirrocumulus clouds belong to the High Cloud group (5000-13000m). They are small rounded puffs that usually appear in long rows. Cirrocumulus are usually white, but sometimes appear gray.
cumulus cloud Cumulus clouds are puffy clouds that sometimes look like pieces of floating cotton. The base of each cloud is often flat and may be only 1000 m (330 ft) above the ground. cumulonimbus cloud An extremely dense, vertically developed cumulus with a relatively hazy outline and a glaciated top extending to great heights, usually producing heavy rains, thunderstorms, or hailstorms. stratocumulus clouds When warm, moist air is mixed with drier, cooler air and the mixture is moving beneath warmer, lighter air above, clouds will often form as rolls or waves. altostratus cloud A warm front has a much shallower slope than the cold front overtaking it, so the warm, stable air behind it is lifted quite slowly over the colder air. lenticular cloud Lenticular clouds, technically known as altocumulus standing lenticularis, are stationary lens-shaped clouds that form at high altitudes, normally aligned at right-angles to the wind direction.
mammantus cloud Mammatus clouds form in sinking air. (Most clouds form in rising air.) Although mammatus most frequently form on the underside of a cumulonimbus, they can develop underneath cirrocumulus, altostratus, altocumulus, and stratocumulus. Stratus clouds are uniform grayish clouds that often cover the entire sky. Usually no precipitation falls from stratus clouds, but sometimes they may drizzle. When a thick fog "lifts," the resulting clouds are low stratus. Stratus can form at any altitude because layers of air can have different temperature for many reasons. But a stratus cloud is flat under and above because it is only a layer of air where moisture has condensed because of the cold temperature. However, when temperatures are cold enough, these clouds may also contain ice particles and snow. Low clouds are primarily composed of water droplets since their bases generally lie below 6,500 feet (2,000 meters). Nimbostratus clouds are formed when the sun heats the surface of the earth.
The air flowing near the surface of the earth absorbs this heat as it rises from the ground.
The water that makes up part of the air rises along with the rest of the air. Altocumulus usually forms in a layer of moist air, where air currents undulate gently, like waves on the sea. Altocumulus can develop in several ways. Moist air is cooled by turbulence, then lifted up slightly and cooled to form a layer of cloud at that height. These high-level clouds are white, thin, feathery, and wispy in appearance. The ice crystals are the result of the freezing of super-cooled water drops. This can only happen when the temperatures reach below –38 degrees Celsius. Cirrus clouds form when water vapor freezes into ice crystals. If it forms from cirrus that grows thicker and more continuous, it may give way to altostratus followed by lower cloud and wet weather. Also, if the sun or moon is surrounded by a halo, the cloud is almost certainly cirrostratus. It is worth watching cirrostratus, because it often signals changing weather. You can see the sun or moon through it much more clearly than you can through altostratus, and this is the simplest way to tell one cloud from the other. If these clouds cover a lot of the sky, it is called a "mackerel sky" because the sky looks like the scales of a fish. Cirrocumulus are usually seen in the winter time and indicate fair, but cold weather. Cirrocumulus clouds are the same size or smaller than the width of your littlest finger when you hold up your hand at arm's length.
These clouds grow upward, and they can develop into a giant cumulonimbus, which is a thunderstorm cloud. The top of the cloud has rounded towers. When the top of the cumulus resembles the head of a cauliflower, it is called cumulus congestus or towering cumulus. Sometimes, especially in summer, there are gaps through which the Sun can shine. This cloud is called stratocumulus, meaning sheets of lumpy cloud. Stratocumulus clouds tend to form in fairly shallow layers which can be several hundred miles wide From the ground this altostratus looks white or slightly blue and watery At about 6,500-16,500 ft (2-5 km) an altostratus may form from water droplets, which may be below freezing temperature, or supercooled. Under certain conditions, long strings of lenticular clouds can form, creating a formation known as a wave cloud. Where stable moist air flows over a mountain or a range of mountains, a series of large-scale standing waves may form on the downwind side. Lenticular clouds sometimes form at the crests of these waves.