Couldn't find element LayerAd

Error finding content

Stratocumulus Clouds - Windows to the Universe

Shop Windows to the Universe

Earth Science Rocks! Select one of our four cool NESTA t-shirts from our online store, and express your love of Earth and space science!
This photograph is of stratocumulus clouds at sunset.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of Carlye Calvin/UCAR

Stratocumulus

Stratocumulus clouds belong to the Low Cloud 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, usually drizzle, occurs with stratocumulus clouds. To tell the difference 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.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Cool It! is the new card game from the Union of Concerned Scientists that teaches kids about the choices we have when it comes to climate change—and how policy and technology decisions made today will matter. Cool It! is available in our online store.

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Low Clouds

The low cloud group includes Stratus, Stratocumulus, and Nimbostratus clouds. Low clouds are made up of water droplets. The base of a low cloud is from the ground to 2000m....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

Stratus

Stratus clouds are part of the Low Cloud group. They are gray and can cover most or all of the sky (like a big blanket). Stratus clouds sometimes produce light mist or drizzle. ...more

Clouds That Have Pockets with Open Cells

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

Rain

Raindrops form when tiny water droplets collide together in clouds to form bigger ones. When they get too heavy, rain falls out of the clouds. Rain is more than 5mm in diameter. The types of clouds that...more

Cloud Formation and Weather Fronts

Weather fronts can cause clouds to form. Fronts happen when two large masses of air collide into each other at the Earth's surface. Warm fronts produce clouds when warm air replaces cold air by sliding...more

Drizzle

Drizzle is very light rain; the water drops that make up drizzle 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 is produced...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