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This photograph is of stratocumulus clouds at sunset.
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Courtesy of Carlye Calvin/UCAR

Stratocumulus

Stratocumulus clouds belong to the Low Cloud (surface-2000m) group. These clouds are low, lumpy, and gray. These clouds can look like cells under a microscope - sometimes they line up in rows and other times they spread out.

Only light precipitation, generally in the form of drizzle, occurs with stratocumulus clouds. To distinguish between a stratocumulus and an altocumulus cloud, point your hand toward the cloud. If the cloud is about the size of your fist, then it is stratocumulus.


Last modified August 12, 2008 by Becca Hatheway.

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Low Clouds

The low cloud group consists of Stratus, Stratocumulus, and Nimbostratus clouds. Low clouds consist of water droplets. The base of a low cloud is from the ground surface to 2000m....more

Altocumulus

Altocumulus clouds are part of the Middle Cloud group (2000-7000m up). They are grayish-white with one part of the cloud darker than the other. Altocumulus clouds usually form in groups and are about...more

Clouds That Have Pockets with Open Cells

Stratocumulus clouds are commonly found over the ocean in the Southeast Pacific region. These clouds can contain clear areas in the clouds that scientists call "pockets of open cells," or POCs....more

Stratus

Stratus clouds belong to the Low Cloud (surface-2000m up) group. They are uniform gray in color and can cover most or all of the sky. Stratus clouds can look like a fog that doesn't reach the ground....more

Rain

Rain is precipitation that falls to the Earth in drops of 5mm or more in diameter according to the US National Weather Service. Virga is rain that evaporates before reaching the ground. Raindrops form...more

Cloud Formation Due to Weather Fronts

Weather fronts can cause clouds to form. Fronts occur when two large masses of air collide at the Earth's surface. Warm fronts produce clouds when warm air replaces cold air by sliding above it. Many different...more

Drizzle

Drizzle is light precipitation that is made up of liquid water drops that are smaller than rain drops. Drizzle can be so light that only a millimeter of water falls to the Earth's surface in one day. It...more

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