What are the different cloud classifications?

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 10:27 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2023 at 11:40 AM CDT
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QUAD CITIES, Iowa/Ill. (KWQC) - Whether it’s a fair weather day, or a day with thunderstorms, there is a lot of movement going on above us.

Clouds are classified by their height above ground and their appearance.

Low-level clouds develop near the surface to as high as 7,000 feet.

Mid-level clouds develop between 7,000 ft to 23,000 feet.

Upper-level clouds are found more than 16,000 feet to 23,000 feet up.

Clouds with vertical growth can extend from the surface to as high as 43,000 feet into the air -- that’s more than eight miles high! Those are the clouds that produce thunderstorms, also known as cumulonimbus clouds.

Cumulonimbus clouds are just one of 10 different types of cloud classifications.

Cirus, cirrocumulus and cirrostratus clouds are the higher level clouds that are made up of ice crystals due to the very cold temperatures several miles into the sky.

Altocumulus and altosratus clouds form in the mid-levels of the atmosphere. These types of clouds don’t typically produce precipitation.

Stratus, cumulus, nimbostratus, and cumulonimbus are your low-level clouds. These types of clouds have the highest potential to rain, and before long, snow.