The types of clouds: everything you need to know by Tibi Puiu

Clouds come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some look cute and fluffy, others appear menacing and apocalyptic.

Not all clouds are created equal. Some are puffy and sweet, others are gray and uniform while others still are so erratic and capricious that the human mind starts to see things; bunnies, cows or a nation’s borders.

The different types of clouds are named based on their shape and how high up they hover in the troposphere. For instance, the diagram below provides a quick overview of the most common types of clouds based on altitude.

Credit: Center for Science Education

The three main types of clouds

A cloud is a visible accumulation of minute droplets of wate, ice crystals, or both, suspended in the air. Though they vary in shape and size, all clouds are basically formed in the same way through the vertical of air above the condensation level. Clouds may also form in contact with the ground surface, too. Such a cloud would be known as fog