Cloud appreciation is an art we can all practice. Who hasn’t admired the clouds on a summer afternoon and imagined castles, dragons, Godzilla?
Perhaps you see a fleet of ships crossing the sky, or maybe a school of cloudfish?
This is free association. Anyone can do it, and the equipment required is minimal–only your mind. Let your mind wander among the clouds, and the possibilities are as open as the sky.
For this exercise in imagination, you don’t even need to know what kind of clouds they are, really.
But you do know these clouds. These puffy, rounded forms are the clouds of childhood, the first clouds we draw pictures of. They are the classic cloud shape that inspired the iCloud logo. These are the fair-weather cumulus clouds of a perfect summer day.
Cumulus clouds are one of the three basic cloud forms. (The other two are cirrus and stratus.)
Weather.com defines cumulus clouds this way—
- Low clouds that develop from the bottom up.
- They have flat bases and dome or cauliflower-shaped upper surfaces.
- The base of the cloud is often no more than 3,000 feet above the ground, but the top often varies in height.
- Small, separate cumulus are associated with fair weather (cumulus humilis).
- With additional heating from the earth’s surface, they can grow vertically throughout the day. The top of such a cloud can easily reach 20,000 feet or more into the troposphere.
- Under certain atmospheric conditions, these clouds can develop into larger clouds, known as towering cumulus (cumulus congestus), and may produce a rain shower.
- Further development may create a cumulonimbus.
See that classic cauliflower top? That’s the fair-weather cumulus. That towering cloud that looks like Godzilla could be a cumulus congestus. And those dark clouds thundering by like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Those are cumulonimbus clouds!
There are so many varieties and forms of clouds. This is just a start. Did you know there is a an organization devoted to the observation and appreciation of different clouds all over the world?
Here is the website for the Cloud Appreciation Society, where you can discover all kinds of information and resources if you want to find out more.
I know I do, and I hope you’ll join me in some cloud appreciation. What do you see in the clouds?
Like this? Why not subscribe? Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.