Photograph of cirrus clouds
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of Lisa Gardiner
Cirrus clouds are the most common of the High Cloud (5000-13000m) group. They are
of ice and consist of long, thin, wispy streamers. They are commonly known as
"mare's tails" because of their appearance.
Cirrus clouds are usually white and predict fair weather.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist
, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store
You might also be interested in:
The high cloud group consists of Cirrus, Cirrostratus, and Cirrocumulus clouds. High clouds are made of ice crystals due to the cold air in the upper sky. The base of a high cloud above the surface can...more
The white streaks you see coming off high-flying jet airplanes are called contrails, which is short for condensation trail. Contrails are clouds that formed when water vapor condenses and freezes around...more
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 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
Altostratus belong to the Middle Cloud group (2000-7000m up). An altostratus cloud usually covers the whole sky and has a gray or blue-gray appearance. The sun or moon may shine through an altostratus...more
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 clouds belong to the High Cloud (5000-13000m) group. They are sheetlike thin clouds that usually cover the entire sky. The sun or moon can shine through cirrostratus clouds . Sometimes, the...more