When the air rises up in the atmosphere, gets cooler and condenses, there are droplets that form and are suspended in the air. These different size droplets help to form clouds. Small droplets will sometimes make a white cloud.

Black Clouds on Deccan Plateau

The bigger droplets gather more of the sun’s rays and they make clouds that are darker and sometimes even the color grey. Droplets that are super large, can make clouds look like they are black. These droplets are so big that they can fall through the cloud and into the air. This is called rain.

Flat Bottom Clouds

Clouds that look flat, look this way because the temperature of the air causes the air to get humid. When the humidity reaches 100%, it causes the clouds to form and look like they have flat bottoms.

Cumuliform cloudscape over Swifts Creek

Three Types of Clouds

There are three classifications of clouds. These classifications are based on what shape the clouds are. The tree different types are cirrus, stratus and cumulus.

Cumulus Clouds

Cumulus clouds are called storm clouds or thunderclouds.

Stratus Clouds

Clouds that are seen at low levels and that have layering are stratus clouds. These types of clouds are sometimes called hazy or clouds that do not have any features. Most of these clouds are either white or dark gray.

Windy evening twilight enhanced by the Sun's angle

Cirrus Clouds

When clouds are feathery looking and look thin, they are cirrus clouds. Cirrus clouds only form when they are high in the air and they are made up of crystals of ice.

Alto Clouds

When stratus or cumulus clouds are higher in the altitude than normal, they are called alto clouds. That means one could be an altocumulus or an altostratus cloud, depending on where they are at in the air.

Clouds that are middle clouds are called alto clouds and they usually are developed in the middle of the troposphere which is 1-4 miles above the surface of the earth.

Formation of Clouds

All clouds are formed from water droplets. Even though all clouds are formed from water droplets, not all clouds cause rain. The cloud has to have super heavy droplets in order for there to be rain from the clouds.

More Facts About Clouds:

  • When a cloud is formed with layers and is a stormy cloud, it is called a nimbostratus.
  • Fog is a cloud that is formed near the ground.
  • There are different cloud levels: high, middle, low and vertical.
  • Vertical clouds are tall and are called cumulus clouds.
  • Low clouds are called stratus.
  • Middle clouds are called alto.
  • High clouds are called cirrus.
  • Clouds float because they have a lot of surface area and they are not weighed down by the droplets that they have.
  • Some clouds can be formed by airplanes. These are called contrail clouds.
  • Jupiter, Saturn and Venus all have clouds just like Earth.
  • Clouds can travel at super high speeds, even more than 100 miles per hour.
  • Clouds weigh a lot, even though they float in the air.

What Did You Learn?

  • What are clouds made of?
    Clouds are made of droplets of water.
  • What type of cloud is found on the ground?
    Fog is a type of cloud that is formed on the ground.
  • What is a cloud called that is formed from an airplane?
    An airplane can make a cloud called a contrail cloud.
  • What are the three main classifications of clouds? T
    he three main classifications of clouds are the cirrus, stratus and cumulus.
  • What are the clouds called that form when there is 100% humidity?
    The flat bottom clouds form when there is 100% humidity.