The other day I was standing in line at the grocery store when I overheard a woman say: “Go ahead Liam, ask her.”
Before I had a chance to turn around, a little boy was by my side, looking up at me with the most inquisitive eyes. “Excuse me Miss Day, but do you know how many different clouds there are in the sky?”
Big question for a little guy. Great question though!
There are three families of clouds that make up cloud types; they include cirrus “curl of hair” clouds; cumulus “heap” clouds; and stratus “layer” clouds. Cirrus clouds are wispy and high in the atmosphere. Stratus clouds are low and gray. Cumulus clouds look like cauliflowers.
Then, combinations of these different families of clouds make up 10 different types of clouds, which include: cirrus, cirrocumulus, cirrostratus, altostratus, altocumulus, nimbostratus, stratus, stratocumulus, cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds.
Did you know, while puffy cumulus clouds might look like cotton candy, they weigh a lot more! The average cumulus or “fair weather” cloud can weigh more than a 450,000 kilograms or the equivalent of 100 elephants!
Keep looking up - you never know what you’ll see!
Read more about clouds
- GRANDMA SAYS: The higher the clouds, the better the weather
- CINDY DAY: Explaining a hole in the clouds
- WEATHER UNIVERSITY: On a roll in Amherst
- WEATHER UNIVERSITY: Like a (jelly) fish out of water
- WEATHER UNIVERSITY: Puzzling pastels
- GRANDMA SAYS: Scales in the sky
- CINDY DAY: UFO sighting in Atlantic Canada?
- CINDY DAY: Beauty on the bay
- CINDY DAY: Ocean waves in the sky
Read more Weather University columns.
Have a weather question, photo or drawing to share with Cindy Day? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.