Clouds Essay Research Paper CloudsSarah StanoOne day

Clouds Essay, Research Paper


Sarah Stano

One day in the park my son pointed to the clouds and asked me why some are bigger than others are. He has always been fond of clouds. He always wonders why some clouds are dark and others are white and fluffy. Why some clouds are so up high and others are so low that you could reach up and grab them out of the sky.

Therefore, I did some research to find out what makes clouds different from one another.

The World Meteorological Organization completed the most recent classification of clouds in 1956. They list 10 basic kinds of clouds that are separated into class according to their outer shape and inner structure. In addition, clouds are also separated according to arrangement and transparency. There is a height classification, which are high, middle, and low altitudes. The different heights of clouds are divided according to altitude.

First, we have the high clouds that range in altitude from 16,500 to 45,000 feet. In this group, we have the cirrus, cirrocumulus, and cirrostratus clouds. A cirrus cloud appears in delicate, fluffy feathers that do not touch each other, and are usually white with no shading. Cirrocumulus clouds appear like very small round balls. The cirrocumulus clouds sometimes form a pattern of a buttermilk sky. The cirrostratus clouds sometimes form tangled webs or thin whitish sheets. A large ring or halo can be seen around the sun or moon when the cirrostratus covers the sky.

The middle layer of clouds range in altitude from 6,500 to 23,000 feet. The altocumulus, altostratus, and nimbostratus clouds are in the middle division. The altocumulus clouds are more rounded and puffier than the cirrocumulus clouds. When people stare at the altocumulus clouds, they usually see a shape of an animal. Altostratus clouds cover the sky with a grayish veil through which the sun or moon may shine as a spot of pale light. The nimbostratus clouds are the clouds that we can identify the fastest. Nimbostratus clouds are thick, dark, and shapeless and they predict rain or snow.

The last height classification is the low altitude. These low clouds range in altitude from ground level to 6,500 feet. This division includes the last four kinds of clouds, which are: stratocumulus, stratus, cumulus, and cumulonimbus. Stratocumulus clouds are the large and lumpy ones that usually cover the entire sky. Stratus clouds are generally the shapeless clouds. They are dark in color and appear as streaks across the sky or as a gray layer hanging above the earth. Cumulus clouds range in size from small puffball-like to massive dome types. These clouds are the ones that often develop into thunderclouds. Cumulonimbus clouds, which are storm clouds, are the ones with flat bases to their rounded domes.

Cloud watching is still one of our favorite activities. Of course, he is still to little to know the different kinds of clouds, but when he gets older, I will be able to show him different kinds and tell him how close they are to us.


classification and division paper

received a b+


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