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Clouds, Precipitation, & Weather Forecasting
There are two main ways that a cloud is formed. Rising air currents form the first type,
cumulus clouds, giving a heaped-up appearance. The second type,
stratus, forms when a layer of air is cooled below its saturation
(dew) point, which makes the cloud look like a blanket of fog.
To understand the daily weather, you should know
what some of the basic clouds types are and what kind of weather they
usually bring. Note that Cirro/Cirrus are high-altitude clouds, while alto
are mid-range clouds.
Stratus: low-altitude, densely foggy clouds that can result in a light drizzle of rain or an overcast sky.
rain and snow clouds. These are low-lying clouds that are distinguished by their
darker color; they also often have visible sheets of rain that extend from them.
"Nimbus" means rain cloud. (Cumulonimbus clouds are
sheets of gray, puffy clouds that usually foretell bad weather.
Cirrus: high-altitude ice clouds
(formed by ice crystals instead of water droplets) that appear as wisps. These often mean
good weather for the immediate future.
high-altitude ice clouds. They look similar to lower altocumulus
clouds: although they are in denser sheets and often have a lighter color, they
have the same fish-scale or ripple look as altocumulus. They usually foretell
precipitation and thunderstorms.
Barometric pressure is another way to forecast approaching weather. A low barometric pressure or falling barometric pressure shows a change in atmosphere that usually means a storm is coming.
A Cloud Chart is an excellent tool to learn to forecast the weather from observing the clouds.
We sell a full-color chart that includes 35 cloud pictures with a description of the weather that is associated with each one.
Cloud pictures are the property of Cloud Chart, Inc. and are used with permission.