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This cumulonimbus cloud has the characteristic anvil-shaped top.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of UCAR Digital Image Library

Clouds with Vertical Growth

Clouds with vertical growth include cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds. These clouds grow high up into the atmosphere rather than spreading across the sky. They span all levels of the troposphere and can even rise up into the stratosphere.

Clouds with vertical growth develop by warm air rising from the surface. 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. Cumulus...more

Cumulonimbus

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

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Cirrocumulus

Cirrocumulus clouds belong to the High Cloud group (5000-13000m). They are small rounded puffs that usually appear in long rows. Cirrocumulus are usually white, but sometimes appear gray. Cirrocumulus...more

Cirrostratus

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