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Nimbostratus Clouds - Windows to the Universe

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This is a photograph of nimbostratus clouds and a rainbow in Seattle, WA. Can you see the rain falling from the clouds?
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Courtesy of Peggy LeMone

Nimbostratus

Nimbostratus (weather symbol - Ns) clouds are composed of water droplets and belong to the Low Cloud (surface to 2000m up) group. They are dark gray with a ragged base. Nimbostratus clouds are associated with continuous rain or snow. Sometimes they cover the whole sky and you can't see the edges of the cloud.


Last modified September 25, 2007 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 surface to 2000m....more

Rain

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

Stratocumulus

Stratocumulus (weather symbol - Sc) clouds consist of water droplets and belong to the Low Cloud (surface-2000m) group. These clouds are low, lumpy, and gray. These clouds can look like cells under a microscope...more

Altostratus

Altostratus clouds (weather symbol - As) consist of water and some ice crystals. They belong to the Middle Cloud group (2000-7000m up). An altostratus cloud usually covers the whole sky and has a gray...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

Altocumulus

Altocumulus clouds (weather symbol - Ac), are made primarily of liquid water and have a thickness of 1 km. They are part of the Middle Cloud group (2000-7000m up). They are grayish-white with one part...more

Cirrocumulus

Cirrocumulus clouds (weather symbol - Cc) are composed primarily of ice crystals and belong to the High Cloud group (5000-13000m). They are small rounded puffs that usually appear in long rows. Cirrocumulus...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF