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Cloud Formation Facts for Kids

Naomi Sarah Oct 27, 2018
Here is some information on cloud formations for kids that are learning about them, or just plain fascinated by how these clouds swirl and form. Find out about the different kinds of cloud formations, and more on mysterious ones as well, here.
Cloud formations are a spectacle for anyone to look at in awe, especially when it forms something you've never seen before. Clouds, as you should know, are made up of water molecules. They're formed when the reversed process of water vapor turning back into liquid water, occurs.
Many of you may have heard of the term condensation, which is what that process is. Droplets of water present in a cloud are so minuscule, that it takes approximately one million water droplets to form a single raindrop.

How Clouds Get Their Names

You may have wondered how clouds get their names, and why they are called so. When meteorologists name clouds, they gauge them by how they look, and how high they are in the sky. Most clouds have the first part of their name associated with height, and the second part to do with the way they look.
Clouds are classified in two ways - if they are high leveled clouds, the prefix 'cirro' forms the first half of their name, and if they are middle leveled clouds, the prefix 'alto' becomes the first half of the name. Low clouds aren't affixed with any kind of prefixes.
Clouds have Latin roots to their names:

Latin Name Meaning
Nimbus Rain
Stratus Layer
Cirrus Curl of hair
Cumulus Heap

Types of Cloud Formations

You'll find names of clouds, that will help you to understand better what the different cloud formations are.

Mid Level Clouds

These clouds are about 2,000 to 6,000 meters from ground level; because of their low altitude, they contain water droplets that can also be crystallized in nature depending on how cold the weather can get. Example: Altostratus and Altocumulus.

Vertically Developed Clouds

These are about 12,000 meters from ground level, with heightened levels of energy through condensation of water vapor present in the cloud. This is a cumulus cloud and is generated by frontal lifting/thermal convection. Example: Cumulonimbus.

High Level Clouds

These clouds are about 6,000 meters from ground level, with crystallized water since they are high in altitude. These can display colorful cloud formations because of the sun's rays lighting it up when it is low on the horizon. Example: Cirrus and Cirrocumulus.

Low Level Clouds

These clouds are about 6,500 ft. from ground level, and are lumpy clouds in nature. They often form light rain and drizzle; example: Stratocumulus Lacunosus and Stratocumulus Duplicatus.

Low to Medium Level Clouds

They are about 10,000 ft. from ground level and usually contain precipitation during the water cycle. These can thicken to form low-level clouds depending on its precipitation. Examples: Nimbostratus Pannus and Nimbostratus Virga.

Rare Cloud Formations

Sometimes clouds tend to separate and curl into formations that leave one openmouthed, where even meteorologists are baffled of how these take place. The science behind these cloud formations are worked upon today, to understand how these rolls, patterns and dips take place.
There have been new cloud formations, like the Honeycomb clouds, that scientists have tried to figure out. These have been studied and scrutinized, with solutions that have settled doubts on how these clouds formed in the first place.
Every year new clouds tend to erupt in the sky, giving meteorologists something overly fascinating to study about every time.

Morning Glory Clouds

Gives off a thickening rolling appearance, that tends to be either single rolls, and can even go up to multiple rolls that are separated from each other in the sky. These tend to trail off from one end of the sky to the other.

Lenticular Clouds

These clouds are UFO-like shaped formations. They are huge flattened clouds that adapt oval-like shapes.

Kelvin-Helmholz Waves

These clouds form crashing wave imitations that literally look like tidal waves in the sky.

Mammatus Clouds

These clouds form bulb-like formations that look like blobs in the sky. These tend to group into hundreds of round shaped clouds in clusters.

Glowing Clouds

These clouds are so high in altitude, that they retain the sun's rays in their crystallized water content, giving off striking colors that illuminate the sky.
Hope that this write up explains about how clouds form, and may you be lucky enough to get it on camera if you happen to spot these.