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Types of Clouds

General Knowledge | 9-14 yrs | Interactive

Clouds are formed when water vapour rises and condenses in the earth’s atmosphere. The shape and size of the fluffy white stuff in the sky is affected by a combination of factors like the temperature of the atmosphere, or the amount of water vapour present. We also have to take into consideration whether they are in the high, middle, or lower part of the atmosphere.

Clouds have 4 different classifications with a Latin name.

Latin name


CirrusCurl of hair


The puffy clouds that look like floating pieces of cotton in the sky are known as cumulus clouds. They form relatively low in the earth’s atmosphere, at around 1 km above the surface- when hot air rises and condenses in the sky. They can appear alone or as one big mass, and are often the precursor to other types of clouds.


Stratus clouds are those which appear to be a haze in the sky. The term is used to describe any cloud that is flat, hazy, and featureless; that hangs low above the surface of the earth and can be dark gray to almost white. When you are talking about a cloudy day, it is likely that you are saying that the sky is filled with stratus clouds.


Any cloud that produces precipitation whether rain, hail, sleet, or snow is known as a nimbus cloud. Since they are dense with water, they appear to be a gray colour. The prefix nimbo or suffix nimbus is added to the names of other clouds when they become large enough to produce precipitation.

Cumulus – cumulonimbus

Stratus – nimbostratus


The type of cloud that looks like someone has taken a broom and made long sweeping marks across the sky is known as a cirrus cloud. They are formed high in the atmosphere, around 6 km up- and have this appearance because the wind blows them into this formation, as the water vapour condenses.

Cirrus clouds are always thin, and you can always see the sun or moon through them.
After you’ve finished reading this article, find a digital camera. Take pictures of clouds over a period of time. Don’t stop till you have one from each category. Maybe, when you’re done, you can create a cloud journal about different types of clouds with your findings.

For more such interesting General Knowledge articles and videos, visit: General Knowledge for Kids.