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Low Clouds

Stratus Clouds

Stratus clouds are uniform grayish clouds that often cover the entire sky. They resemble fog that does not reach the ground. Usually no precipitation falls from stratus clouds, but sometimes they make drizzle. When a thick fog "lifts," the resulting clouds are low stratus.

(Left: L.Gardiner, Right: UCAR)



Cumulus clouds are puffy clouds that sometimes look like pieces of floating cotton. The base of each cloud is often flat and may be only 1000 m (3300 ft) above the ground. The top of the cloud has rounded towers. When the top of a cumulus cloud looks like a head of cauliflower, it is called cumulus congestus or towering cumulus. These clouds grow upward, and they can develop into thunderstorm clouds.

(Left: C.Calvin, Right: L.Gardiner)


Stratocumulus clouds are low and puffy. They typically cover most of the sky. These clouds don't usually lead to precipitation.

(Left: P.Lemone)





Do you know how clouds form?