Cloud names and classifications – Met Workplace


Clouds are regularly altering and seem in an infinite number of varieties. The classification of clouds is predicated on a guide written by Luke Howard, a London pharmacist and newbie meteorologist, in 1803. His guide, The Modifications of Clouds, named the assorted cloud buildings he had studied. The phrases he used have been readily accepted by the meteorological neighborhood and are nonetheless used internationally immediately.

Cloud sorts and teams

The World Meteorological Group (WMO) has prolonged Luke Howard’s classifications to make 10 principal teams of clouds, known as genera. These are divided into three ranges – cloud low (CL), cloud medium (CM) and cloud excessive (CH) – in keeping with the a part of the ambiance wherein they’re normally discovered.

Excessive clouds (CH)

Base normally 20,000 ft or above, over the British Isles

Excessive cloud sorts

Medium clouds (CM)

Base normally between 6,500 and 20,000 ft over the British Isles.

Medium cloud sorts

Low clouds (CL)

Base normally beneath 6,500 ft over the British Isles.

Low cloud sorts

The numerous attainable variations within the form of clouds and variations of their inside construction have led to the subdivision of many of the cloud genera into species.

Names for clouds

Most of our names for clouds come from Latin and are normally a mixture of the next prefixes and suffixes:

  • Stratus/strato: flat/layered and clean
  • Cumulus/cumulo: heaped up/puffy, like cauliflower
  • Cirrus/cirro: excessive up/wispy
  • Alto: medium degree
  • Nimbus/Nimbo: rain-bearing cloud

The place these names are mixed, we will typically construct up an concept of that cloud’s character. For instance, if we mix nimbus and stratus we get ‘nimbostratus’ – a cloud which is flat and layered and has the potential for rain.



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