|Topics||Cirrus Clouds, Cumulus Clouds, 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.
Cumulus clouds are large, puffy, mid-altitude clouds with a flat base and a rounded top. These clouds grow upward and can develop into a cumulonimbus or thunderstorm cloud.
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.