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This cumulonimbus cloud has the characteristic anvil-shaped top.
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Courtesy of UCAR Digital Image Library

Clouds with Vertical Growth

Clouds with vertical growth include cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds. These clouds develop by warm air rising from the surface. They grow high up into the atmosphere rather than spreading out. Cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds provide the some of the most interesting and severe weather on Earth.

Last modified May 25, 2010 by Becca Hatheway.

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Cumulus

Cumulus clouds belong to the Clouds with Vertical Growth group. They are puffy white or light gray clouds that look like floating cotton balls. Cumulus clouds have sharp outlines and a flat base. Seeing...more

Cumulonimbus

Cumulonimbus clouds belong to the Clouds with Vertical Growth group. They are also known as thunderstorm clouds. A cumulonimbus cloud can grow up to 10km high. At this height, high winds make the top...more

Altocumulus

Altocumulus clouds are part of the Middle Cloud group. They are grayish-white with one part of the cloud darker than the other. Altocumulus clouds usually form in groups. Altocumulus clouds are about...more

Altostratus

Altostratus clouds belong to the Middle Cloud group. An altostratus cloud usually covers the whole sky. The cloud looks gray or blue-gray. The sun or moon may shine through an altostratus cloud, but will...more

Cirrocumulus

Cirrocumulus clouds belong to the High Cloud group. They are small rounded puffs that usually appear in long rows. Cirrocumulus are usually white, but sometimes appear gray. Cirrocumulus clouds are the...more

Cirrostratus

Cirrostratus clouds belong to the High Cloud group. They are sheetlike thin clouds that usually cover the entire sky. The sun or moon can shine through cirrostratus clouds. When looking at the sun through...more

Cirrus

Cirrus clouds are the most common of the High Cloud group. They are made of ice crystals and have long, thin, wispy streamers. Cirrus clouds are usually white and predict fair weather. ...more

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