Clouds come in many forms, shapes, and sizes. Today we’ll be learning about Stratocumulus clouds.
There are many types of clouds as follows:
- Low clouds: Stratocumulus, Stratus, Cumulus and Cumulonimbus.
- Medium clouds: Altocumulus, Altostratus and Nimbostratus.
- High clouds: Cirrus, Cirrocumulus and Cirrostratus.
Today, we are going to talk about Stratocumulus.
These clouds consist of large round masses and can be in the form of waves, groups and lines. Its height of base (the lowest altitude of the visible part of the cloud) is around 1200 to 6500 ft.
These patches of cloud which are low level vary in colour, they can be very white to dark grey. These are the most common clouds you will find on the planet and can be recognised easily due to their bases being darker than many others. These can be joined but mostly you will see gaps.
When a Stratus cloud begins to break up this is what you will see, they usually indicate a change in the weather and can be found near a cold, warm or occluded front (when a cold front overtakes a warm front).
These clouds can be present in all types of weather conditions from dry to rainy but they are not always the ones that cause these conditions. We often mistake them for rain clouds but it’s very rare we even get the slightest drizzle from them.
There are 4 categories for this cloud type:
Stratocumulus stratiformis: the most common flat based clouds with gaps in between.
Stratocumulus cumulogenitus: these form when rising cumulus clouds meet a warming of the air above this makes the cloud spread out and join together.
Stratocumulus castellanus: thicker and more drizzly contained clouds with turreted tops which are formed when convection (when warmer air rises and cooler air drops) begins through the stable layer, this allows the Stratocumulus cloud to grow upwards which could lead to the formation of the Cumulus or Comulonimbus.
Stratocumulus lenticularis: this is the rarest of all, it can be seen in hilly areas. When hills produce atmospheric waves, they can appear as a lens-like shape.