Cloud Classification Definitions
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|Relatively large cumulonimbus producing most of the damage associated with severe thunderstorms. It can produce giant hail, flash floods, stong straight line wind gusts, wall clouds and tornadoes. Common features include an overshooting bulge through the top of the storm and a long life cycle - typically 2 hours or more. Is consists of mesocyclones which are rotating updraughts within the thunderstorm.
|Cumulonimbus with an anvil typically known as a thunderstorm. Also known as Cumulonimbus Capillatus.
|Cumulonimbus or large cumulus with basically no anvil although the tops may become striated.
|Cumulus clouds which are markedly sprouting and are often of great vertical extent with tops resembling a cauliflower. Their heights exceed the dimensions of their bases.
|Cumulus clouds of moderate vertical extent, the tops of which show fairly small protuberances. The base is a similar in width to the cloud height.
|Cumulus clouds of only a slight vertical extent. They generally appear flattened. Their bases are much wider than the their heights.
|Forms in layers
sometimes hundreds of kilometres across. It usually has a ragged upper surface
while the base is relatively flat. The most common cloud type.
|Stratus clouds form in sheets or layers in the lower parts of the atmosphere. Fog is classified as stratus.
|Cumulus in the
middle levels of the atmosphere associated with the lifting of a large air mass
|This cloud is found in the middle levels of the atmosphere and is always a sign of the presence of significant amounts of moisture in those layers. It is typically featureless, ranging from a thin, white veil of cloud through which the sun is clearly visible, to a dense gray mantle that may block out the sun completely.
|Rain producing cloud which varies in thickness and layers mostly occurring in a widespread sheet.
|High level clouds that appear as small rounded puffs arranged in rows or sheets.
Ice crystal clouds in the form of thin elements that allow sunlight or moonlight to easily pass through.
|Ice crystal clouds that appear in the form of extensive sheets that may cover the whole sky.
Updated: 1st February 2008
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