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Lessons and Modules

Introduction to Clouds

What Kinds of Clouds Are Produced in a Storm?

Scientists do not know exactly which types of clouds predominate in different storms. Clouds have traditionally been classified by their appearance and height in the atmosphere. This traditional classification system is shown in the table below. Inspect the table and indicate, using the menu provided below it, three types of clouds that might commonly be seen as a storm system passes overhead. Click on each image to view a larger version thereof.

cirrus clouds
cirrostratus clouds
deep convective clouds
deep convective*
altocumulus clouds
altostratus clouds
nimbostratus clouds
cumulus clouds
stratocumulus clouds
stratus clouds
* Image from the University of Illinois WW2010 Project.

Which three types of clouds are commonly seen as a storm system passes overhead?

Discuss your choices with your instructor before proceeding. Make a note of your hypothesis for later reference. Go on to predict the major cloud types you think might expect to see during the passage of a storm system.