The Classification of Clouds

Topics: Cloud, Cumulus cloud, Tornado Pages: 2 (451 words) Published: October 14, 2012
The Classification of Clouds

The scientific study of clouds began in 1803 when Luke Howard, a British pharmacist and amateur meteorologist, introduced the first system for classifying clouds. Although many other procedures for cloud classification have been devised over the years, Howard’s system is so simple and effective that it is still in use today. It is based on the shape, distribution, and altitude of clouds. He identified ten different categories, but they are all variations of three basic clouds forms. Howard used their Latin names to identify them: cirrus (meaning: “curl”), stratus (“spreading out in layers or sheets”), and cumulus (“a pile or heap”). First, Cirrus clouds, this type of clouds they can be found in about 5 miles (8 Kilometers) above the sea level, and these clouds are the highest between all other clouds. The color of these clouds is white and some of their features are: curly, feathery, delicate, streaky, wispy and thin. Sometimes we call cirrus clouds “mares’ tails” because they tend to look like the tails of horses. The speed of cirrus clouds is between 100 to 200 miles per hour (160 to 320 kilometers per hour), but their height makes their speed seem much slower. This type of clouds is made of entirely of ice crystals because it is so cold at that altitude. Second, Stratus clouds, this type of clouds can be found between 1 to 4 miles (1.6 to 6 kilometers) above Earth and they usually arranged in smooth and flat layers. Stratus clouds look like a gray sheet or blanket, but not very thick, so blue sky often shines through. Stratus clouds sometimes called “mackerel sky” in English because they look like the scales of a fish. These clouds are often signal that bad weather may be coming. Stratus clouds are made of water droplets. The last type is Cumulus clouds, this type of clouds can be found between 1 to 4 miles (1.6 to 6 kilometers) high, their tops may rise to great heights, making them look like rising towers,...
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