Cloud types

Clouds generally give indications of the possible approaching climate, so there are a great variety of clouds and each one with its characteristics and different formation conditions . In this post we will address the different types of clouds with their meanings and how and why they are formed.

How a cloud forms

It is important to know how a cloud is formed to later advance in the different types that exist. First of all, for there to be clouds in the sky, there has to be a cooling in the air. It all begins when the sun’s rays heat the earth’s surface, they also heat the surrounding air, an air with high temperature becomes less dense with what tends to rise and be replaced by colder and denser air.

When it reaches a colder layer of air, it condenses in the form of water vapor, thus the differences between the formations of different types of clouds are due to the condensation temperature.

Types of CloudsFeatures
cirrusThey are high, white, transparent clouds without internal shadows that present long filaments, precede a sudden change of weather.
CirrocúmulosThey are high clouds that present some type of fine wrinkles and rounded shapes, they usually change the weather.
CirrostratusThey are high clouds with the appearance of a veil, presenting a long and wide striatum, prelude the arrival of bad weather
AltocumulusThey are medium clouds, which look like medium-sized cotton flakes and usually precede bad times with rains and storms.
AltoestratosThey are medium clouds that have some dense areas, in most of the time it is possible to visualize the sun through them and they presage a fine rain
NimbostratosThey are low clouds, they have the appearance of a regular dark gray layer with varying degrees of opacity, they are typical spring or summer rain clouds
StratocumulusThey are low clouds that present elongated cylindrical ripples, present areas of different types of gray and their presence announces rains.
Cumulus cloudsThese types of clouds have a large size with a massive appearance and can generate large storms and intense downpours.
CumulonimbosClouds of great size and massive appearance with a very marked vertical development and whose cusp may have the shape of a large mushroom. They are clouds that can produce intense storms, even containing hail

There are some clouds that form at higher temperatures and others at lower temperatures, the lower the temperature is the formation temperature, the thicker the cloud will be, there are also some clouds that give precipitation and others do not.,

If the temperature is too low, the cloud that forms will be made up of ice crystals.

Types of Clouds

High Clouds

1. Cirrus

on white and transparent clouds, they appear like the well-known horse tails , they are nothing more than clouds formed by ice crystals, this is due to the altitude they are found.

They can be seen with the naked eye and if the sky fills with cirrus clouds, a sudden change in the weather is likely to be approaching, which is usually temperature drops.


These clouds form a layer that has a wrinkled surface appearance and with rounded shapes as if they were small cotton flakes.

The clouds are totally white, generally they appear with cirrus clouds that indicate that the weather will change in a few hours.


They have the appearance of a veil, they have long and wide striations. This type of cloud usually has a kind of halo around the sun or the moon.

Cirrostratus tend to succeed cirrus clouds and anticipate the arrival of bad weather or warm fronts.

Medium Clouds


They look like cotton flakes of medium size and irregular structure, they present undulations in their lower part.

Altocumulus trees often precede storms and rains.


Thin layers of clouds with some dense areas , most of the time it is common to see the sun through the cloud layers.

The appearance of the Altostratus is a uniform layer of clouds with irregular patches, generally marking light rains and a drop in temperature.

Low Clouds


They have the appearance of a regular dark gray coat, often a striated shape with gray varitions can be seen.

They are typical clouds of spring and summer rains and snow during winter.


They present wide undulations similar to elongated cylinders, and can appear as large banks.

These clouds present with areas of different shades of gray and rarely bring rain.

8 Strata

These clouds called strata have the appearance of grayish fog banks without being able to see a regular structure, they present patches of different shades of opacity.

During the fall and winter the strata can remain in the sky for the whole day giving a sad aspect to the day. During spring and summer they usually appear during the early morning to disappear later and preceding a beautiful day.

9.Cumulus clouds

They present a large size with a massive appearance and very marked shadows when it is between the sun and the observer, that is, they are gray clouds. They have a horizontal base and in the upper part large vertical protrusions that deform, presenting a cauliflower-like appearance.

Cumulus clouds correspond to good weather when there is little ambient humidity and little vertical air movement. In the case of high humidity and strong updrafts, cumulus clouds can become large, causing storms.


The clouds called cumulonimbus are large and massive in appearance with a very marked vertical development that gives the impression of mountainous cliffs and whose cusp may have the shape of a large mushroom, and that presents a smooth or slightly fibrous structure where they are observed different intensities of gray color.

These clouds can have large ice crystals at the top, this type of cloud can cause some type of hail.

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