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Learn about clouds
explain cloudsHumidity Relative Humidity Dew pointCloud formation processTypes of cloudsHow do cirrus clouds look likeWhat does a stratus cloud look likeHow does a cumulus cloud look likecontrails lenticular clouds and fogWhat do clouds tell us


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explain how a cloud forms



What are cirrus clouds like?


Cirrus clouds
(cirrus means lock or tuft of hair in Latin) are found above 20,000ft. They occur in fair weather and they usually point to the direction of the acting winds. They appear as silky, delicate or tuft of hair (such as a horse tail). They are formed from tiny ice crystals. One common feature is the fall streaks it has, that result from falling ice crystals, or blown away ice crystals by high winds. Streaks may look like fine lines, comma shaped, or a mix of irregular lines, but generally move across the sky from west to east.

Did you know:
Cirrus clouds are high altitude clouds. Because it is very cold up there, water exists in the form of ice particles, which reflects the sunlight and gives it the pure white colour. It is very unusual to see dark clouds in very high altitude.


Other cirrus clouds include the cirrostratus and cirrocumulus.

cirrus clouds

cloudsCirrostratus:
Like its mother (cirrus) they appear as flattened white sheets spreading across the sky. They can also be seen as ripples in the sky. They are clear enough to see the sun or moon through them. Halos are common with cirrostratus clouds and they often disappear when the ice patches become more and begin to form bigger clouds. During sunset and sunrise, they can look beautiful, reflecting warm colors of the sun.

cloudsCirrocumulus:
They appear as fine white cotton-balls of clouds that can stretch across the entire skyline. Note that these are not as smooth as the cirrus and cirrostratus, but broken up into smaller elements and ripples. They can look like the scales on the skin of a fish. This is why people call it mackerel sky. They are less common and appear more in colder seasons.

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