|Topics||Cirrus Clouds, Cold Front, Fronts, Stationary Front, Stratus Clouds, Warm Front|
Cirrus clouds are thin, wispy high-altitude clouds composed of ice crystals that originate from the freezing of supercooled water droplets. Cirrus clouds generally occur in fair weather and point in the direction of air movement at their elevation.
A cold front is a warm-cold air boundary with the colder air replacing the warmer. As a cold front moves into an area, the heavier cool air pushes under the lighter warm air that it is replacing. The warm air becomes cooler as it rises and, if the rising air is humid enough, the water vapor it contains will condense into clouds and precipitation may fall.
An air mass is a large body of air that has similar moisture (density) and temperature characteristics. A front is a transition zone between two air masses.
When two air masses meet and neither is displaced, a stationary front is created. Stationary fronts often cause persistent cloudy wet weather.
Clouds are categorized based on their shape, size, and altitude. Stratus clouds are low-altitude clouds characterized by horizontal layering with a broad flat base. When stratus clouds occur on the ground the result is fog.
A warm front is the boundary between warm and cool (or cold) air when the warm air is replacing the cold air. Warm air at the surface pushes above the cool air mass creating clouds and storms.