Illustration of stratocumulus clouds, belonging to a class characterized by large dark, rounded masses, usually in groups, lines, or waves. Weak convective currents create shallow cloud layers because of drier, stable air above preventing continued vertical development. Vast areas of subtropical and polar oceans are covered with massive sheets of stratocumuli
Illustration of a cumulus cloud, a cloud with noticeable vertical development and clearly defined edges. Cumulus means "heap" or "pile" in Latin. They are often described as "puffy" or "cotton-like" in appearance. Cumulus clouds typically form when warm air rises and reaches a level of comparatively cool air, where the moisture in the air condenses. This usually happens through convection, where a parcel of air is warmer than the surrounding air
Illustration of a cirrocumulus cloud, a large, white patch or tuft without a gray shadow. Composed of supercooled liquid droplets (if they freeze, becomes cirrostratus - cirrocumuli are short lived) Each cloudlet appears no larger than a finger held at arms length. It occurs in patches or sheets, organized in rows like other cumulus, but since they are so small, cirrocumulus patches take on a finer appearance, sometimes referred to colloquially as "herringbone" or "mackerel"
Illustration of stratus clouds, meaning layer or blanket in Latin. Characterized by horizontal layering with a uniform base. Flat, featureless clouds of low altitude varying in color from dark gray to nearly white obscuring the disk of the sun. Essentially above-ground fog formed either through the lifting of morning fog or when cold air moves at low altitudes over a region
Illustration of cirrus clouds, which are characterized by thin, wisplike strands, often accompanied by tufts, leading to their common (non-standard) name of mare's tail. Cirrus clouds are formed when water vapor freezes into ice crystals at altitudes above 8000 meters (26,000 ft). Due to the sparse moisture at a high altitude, they tend to be very thin
Illustration of a cloud with rain droplets falling straight down
Illustration of cirrostratus clouds, thin, generally uniform clouds, composed of ice-crystals, capable of forming halos. When thick enough to be seen, they are whitish, usually with no distinguishing features