Imagine you are playing outside on a beautiful day. You look up above and see an array of fluffy clouds floating through the sky. You suddenly wonder to yourself, “Where do clouds even come from?” You are in the right place to find the exact answer to that question, while also discovering other interesting cloud facts.
Different Types of Clouds
Did you know that there are many different types of clouds? Their names are unlike any words you have ever heard before.
- cirrus clouds
- cumulonimbus clouds
- cirrocumulus clouds
- noctilucent clouds
- cirrostratus clouds
- altostratus clouds
- nimbostratus clouds
- altocumulus clouds
- stratocumulus clouds
That is a mouthful, so let’s break it down into much simpler terms. In this post, we will explore some super fun facts about the multiple types of clouds.
While we know clouds have some really unique names, you should know not all of them make an appearance regularly and most of them go by shorter nicknames. Some of these clouds are more popular than others and are seen much more often.
There are three main types of clouds. The easiest way to remember them is:
- high-level clouds
- mid-level clouds
- low-level clouds
That’s right, while it seems like all clouds are just super high in the sky, some are much higher or lower than others and they all have different shapes. Of the three cloud types, each type have their main cloud formations and a different meaning or reason for forming.
Common Types of Clouds
Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about low, middle, and high clouds.
These are those super, puffy, white clouds that you see in the sky. Many people would say they look like cotton balls. They are considered low-level clouds and they are the most often seen. One very interesting fact about these clouds is that they appear in the morning and grow throughout the day. As they grow, they extend into vertical clouds. As evening approaches, these clouds dissolve, or in other words, they disappear.
These wispy or puffy clouds tend to be white or gray, and typically form in small batches. The batches have small holes throughout them allowing you to see the sky. This type of cloud can cause light rain, although it doesn’t happen often.
These clouds are extremely low to the ground and can cause a drizzle of rain or a small amount of snow flurries. Most people would simply call stratus clouds by their typical name. Which is fog. Yes, that is right. Fog is a cloud. When you think of a damp and dreary day, you most likely imagine a Stratus cloud.
These clouds are white, gray, or even blue-gray in color. They typically cover the entire sky and can be mixed in with multiple types of clouds. They are the most common type of cloud.
These clouds are heavy and vertical. They are the dark gray clouds you see in the sky during a thunderstorm and they are normally what you and I would call rain clouds. They can be so thick and dark that they block out light from the sun. These clouds typically form when the warm air rises and comes in contact with cold air, which is exactly what causes a thunderstorm to occur.
These clouds are thin, white, and wispy in appearance and made up of ice crystals. They pass over the sun before sunrise and after sunset. They can be white, yellow, or red in color. You know how gorgeous the sky is in the evening when the sunsets? This type of cloud contributes to that amazing scenery.
These clouds are very similar to cirrus clouds because they are also thin and white and made up of ice crystals. The biggest difference between them is that Cirro clouds cover the sky like a veil. Imagine how a veil covers a bride’s head. They are most common to see in the winter as they are made up of ice crystals.
How Do Clouds Form?
Did you know clouds are made up of tiny droplets of water, snowflakes, or ice crystals? During the water cycle, heat from the sun warms the ground and the warm air rises. As it makes its way further into the sky the warm air cools. The water then turns into a gas called water vapor. Eventually the water vapor turns into droplets of water, snowflakes, or ice crystals. Those droplets then stick to small particles, like tiny pieces of salt and dust, in the air. This forms cloud droplets which ultimately causes cloud formations.
Other Cloud Facts
There are a load of other interesting facts about clouds that are super impressive. Read below and let us know what your favorite cloud fact is.
Clouds can be seen moving through the sky when they are propelled by strong wind.
Cumulus clouds are so massive they can weigh as much as 100 elephants.
The word cloud actually comes from an English word called “clud” which actually means “lump of rock.”
Nimbo clouds, or rain clouds, can actually be greenish gray during a thunderstorm.
Stratus clouds, or fog, can create an arch, like a rainbow. Have you ever heard of a fogbow?
Have you ever laid on the ground and saw clouds shaped like particular objects? There is actually a name for this and it is called pareidolia.
The lack of clouds in the sky is called enubilous. Throw that scientific word out to your friends next time the sky is completely clear.
Remember when you read above that clouds form from water droplets that surround particles like dust? Those particles can also include the dandruff from your hair.