Missing Ely’s Sky – 23/365, Archive 365, Droid Shots, Ely, Minnesota, photo © 2012 by Liz Schultz. All rights reserved.
Clouds are connectors. We see cloud formations as recognizable, weather predicting puffs of air. Clouds are classified using a Latin Linnean system based on a book written by a London pharmacist, Quaker, and amateur meteorologist named Luke Howard. In 1803, he wrote The Modifications of Clouds naming the various cloud structures he had studied.
The terms used by Howard were readily accepted by the meteorological community and detailed in The International Cloud Atlas, published by the World Meteorological Organization in 1896. They are still used across the world today.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) extended Luke Howard’s classifications into 10 main groups of clouds, called genera. These are divided into three levels – cloud low (CL), cloud medium (CM) and cloud high (CH) – according to the part of the atmosphere in which they are usually found. Types of clouds can be categorized by height and are divided up by the following names:
|Cloud level (ft)||Cloud type|
|High clouds – (CH) Base usually 20,000 ft or above|
|Medium clouds – (CM) Base usually between 6,500 and 20,000 ft|
|Low clouds – (CL) Base usually below 6,500 ft|
The names of clouds are based on their height as well as their appearance. Common cloud names are derived from Latin:
- Stratus— means layer and refers to the group of clouds that form in big sheets covering the entire sky. Stratus clouds are made of liquid water and are called fog or mists when close to the Earth. The blend of altostratus can cause ice build up on the wings of aircraft.
- Cumulus—in Latin cumulus means heap. These are fair-weather clouds that we might say look like cotton candy or castles.
- Alto—means middle and refers to clouds that are in the middle layer of our atmosphere.
- Cirrus—means curl in Latin. These clouds are high up and look like wisps of hair. Cirrus are the highest of all clouds and are made up almost entirely of ice crystals.
- Nimbus—comes from the Latin word for rain. Whenever there is precipitation, there are nimbus clouds.
Shadow Leaves, Dusk On The Mississippi, photos © 2007-
2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
What do you think of when you say the word cloud? Do you see the Universe, fog hanging on the mountains, the sky over the prairie? How many types of clouds can you name. Or maybe cloud to you is not that literal. Is your iced tea cloudy; are there clouds in your coffee? Is there a cloud over your day or your mood? Does your past cloud your vision of the future?
Get out your fast writing pens and write the Topic Cloud at the top of your spiral notebook (or start tapping away on your computer or Smartphone).
You can write a haiku, tanka, or gogyohka practice and post it in the comments.
Or you may be surprised at what you discover when you follow the rules of Writing Practice —- Cloud, 10 minutes, Go!
Cotton Cloudiness, Top Of The Cedar Avenue Bridge, photo ©
2008-2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, August 21st, 2012