Even clouds have families

Clouds are grouped into families by altittude. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) classification uses the French term ‘étage’: high étage (3-8km/2-5miles); middle étage (/2-4km1.25-2.5miles); and low étage (surface to 2km/1.25miles).


Altitude (depending on region)



A (high)


(10,000-6000 ft)

Cirrus (Ci)

Cirrocumulus (Cc)

Cirrostratus (Cs)

Primarily composed of ice crystals

B (middle)


(6,500-25,00 ft)

Altocumulus (Ac)

Altostratus (As)

Nimbostratus (Ns)

Can be water droplets or ice

C (low)

Below 1,981m

(Below 6,500ft)

Cumulus ((Cu)

Stratocumulus (Sc)

Stratus (St)

Nimbostratus (Ns)

Mostly water droplets

D (vertical)

Many heights

Cumulus (Cu)

Cumulonimbus (Cb)

Can grow to heights of up to about 12,192m (40,000ft)

This entry was posted in Physical geography, Weather and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Even clouds have families

  1. I never thought of it that way, well put!

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