I'm learning about clouds in school. Can you tell me what nimbus, cirrus, cumulus and stratus clouds look like and how high they are in the sky? Thanks!
Friday, February 6, 2009 | 10:30 AM PT
Question submitted by Connor Hayden
Great question Connor!
Cloud types are widely varied, but in general the layers are split into three - low, middle and high. Low clouds are those found at 0-10000 feet, middle clouds are found from 10000-23000 feet and high clouds are above 23000 feet. Within each layer however there are many variations. There is a great web site that has pictures to show the typical cloud type at each layer: It's called "The Weather Doctor"
Within each layer there are 4 main types of clouds: Cirro form (high and wispy), Nimbo form (dark and stormy with the ability to have the cloud base lower to the surface during precipitation), Cumulo form (heaped, fluffy looking clouds) and Strato form (which are layered clouds). The National Weather Service has a great web site showing the different types of clouds and how they form.