I don’t know about you, but I happen to like looking up at clouds. As a kid, I’ve always enjoyed looking up, seeing the types of clouds that are up there, looking for designs, similarities.
Hey, that looks like a castle. That looks like a person. That looks like a hippo. Clouds are fascinating things.
The next lesson: Earthquakes, both lessons are included in Practice Tests.The following transcript is provided for your convenience.
And today, we’re just going to go over types of clouds so that hopefully the next time you’re outside and think to look up, not only can you have fun enjoying the different shapes and things that you see in the clouds especially if it’s sunrise or sunset with the way the sunlight hits it and changes the color. But you’ll actually be able to identify the type of cloud it is and understand a little bit about what causes that type of cloud.
So we’re just going to go through those briefly. I’m going to list the type of the cloud, the name of the cloud, and then give you a concept or word to associate with that type of cloud.
So we begin by looking at the stratus clouds. Stratus clouds- here, what you need to think of is a blanket. A blanket. What you have is a layer of very cold air and then a layer of warm air that rides over the top of that cold air, and the boundary between the cold air below and the warm air above. As that warm air begins to cool by coming into contact with that cold air, if it goes below the dew point, it condenses out and produces a very uniform cloud bank or layer in that boundary that looks like a blanket. So these are stratus clouds- warm layer riding over the top of cold air, producing this sort of blanket look.
Next are cumulus clouds. And cumulus clouds are the ones I tend to think of when I look up in the sky and I see different shapes, and designs, and what not. Here, we think puffy. Puffy clouds, cotton balls- this is basically warm air that is forced upward; and as it goes upward, it cools. It condenses out into these big, fluffy, cotton ball-like mounds. Cumulus clouds.
And then finally, the last set of clouds we’re going to talk about today are cirrus clouds. Cirrus clouds are extremely high altitude clouds, seven kilometers above the surface of the earth. And essentially, it’s ice crystals at that level. So these thin ice crystals high in the atmosphere. The sunlight passes right through them. And here you need to think in terms of wispy, thin, feathery; as if someone had taken a paintbrush and sort of scraped it across the sky there. Thin, wispy, feathery. And remember they are ice crystals at that level.
So, stratus – blanket, cumulus – puffy, cotton ball, cirrus – wispy, thin, feathery. These are just basic types of clouds that you see. And I hope you take some time not only to learn this information, but to actually go outside and look up. It’s so busy. We’re living our lives. We look everywhere but up. Look up. Look at the clouds and enjoy what you see there, especially if it’s sunrise or sunset. And you get the difference of the light, and the colors, and all that. And as you’re looking, hopefully you’ll remember blanket; puffy, cotton balls; or thin, wispy, and feathery and go, “Oh! I know what that is – stratus, cumulus, or cirrus.”
The next lesson: Earthquakes, both lessons are included in Practice Tests.