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Unit 4: Temperature-Moisture Relationship

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Kinds Of Clouds In The Atmosphere

Name Image Notes

1. Cirrostratus


Cirrostratus clouds are very high, wispy clouds that frequently precede a warm front. The clouds thicken, increase and lower as the front approaches. They indicate rain is possible within the next day or two.
The tops of tall cumulonimbus clouds at the weather front are frequently blown off by strong winds aloft and are carried for 500 or more miles. Cirrus clouds can be produced from both warm and cold fronts, but they are more extensive with warm fronts. When you see cirrus clouds with a cold front, you usually are seeing the front itself.

2. Altostratus


3. Nimbostratus


4. Stratus


5. Cirrus


6. Cirrocumulus


7. Altocumulus


8. Cumulus


9. Stratocumulus


10. Cumulonimbus


A real troublemaker, and the most potentially dangerous cloud, is the cumulonimbus or thunderhead. By the time you notice this cloud, weather problems may already be occurring. Thunderheads produce strong, gusty winds, sometimes in excess of 60 mph from their bases. These winds can spread out and be experienced on the ground for several miles. They may produce cooler conditions with higher humidity, occasional rain, and lightning.
Thunderheads begin as small, fair-weather cumulus clouds, and grow as atmospheric conditions become more unstable. Towering cumulus clouds, which have not yet developed an anvil-shaped top with an icy appearance, are the clouds to watch carefully. Thunderheads can occur individually as airmass thunderstorms or as a line or wall of thunderstorms associated with a cold front.

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2005, October 27). Unit 4: Temperature-Moisture Relationship. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License