Clouds are made of tiny droplets of water or frozen ice crystals. You can see clouds floating in the air above the surface of the Earth

© [2007] Jupiterimages Corporation

How are clouds formed?

Air contains moisture in the form of a gas which is called water vapour. As water vapour cools it changes from a gas into a liquid. Clouds form when water vapour in the air cools and changes into droplets of water. The tiny water droplets gather together to make a cloud.

Types of Clouds
The three main kinds of clouds are cirrus, stratus, and cumulus.

Cirrus clouds are white and feathery, and form high up in the sky. They are wispy and thin.


Stratus clouds are like flat grey sheets layered across the sky. They are the lowest clouds in the sky, and the drops of water vapour in them are very small. The rain that falls from stratus clouds is drizzle, or snow in very cold areas.

Cumulus clouds are thick and fluffy, and change shape rapidly.They can be white or dark when they are full of water droplets and very cold.

 All other clouds are combinations of these three. There are ten types of clouds that are found at different levels of the atmosphere

Rain clouds have 'nimbo' or 'nimbus' as part of their name. For example, cumulonimbus are fluffy clouds that bring rain and thunderstorms. They have large drops of rain, and as the temperature gets colder, the drops of rain join together and the cloud becomes dark. They bring lightning, thunder or hail. Nimbostratus are layers of rain cloud.

The highest of all the clouds are the group of clouds with 'cirrus' as part of their name. They are feathery and white and are made up of frozen water droplets. Adding 'alto' to the name of a cloud tells that it is a cloud high in the sky.

You can find out more about clouds at these sites:

This site has a gallery of cloud photographs from around the world

If you use any of this information in your own work acknowledge this source in your bibliography like this:
Thomas, Ron & Sydenham,Shirley. Clouds. [Online] (2009)

Some other weather pages on kidcyber:
Cyclones & Tornadoes .. Cyclone Tracy .. Dew & Frost .. Ice .. Snow & Hail ,, Thunder & Lightning .. Winds ... Fun Weather Facts

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