Clouds

This passage discusses different types of clouds.

Lexile Level: 700L

Categories: Science & Technology Animals & Nature


Clouds are named according to three main features. The first feature is the shape of the cloud. The main shapes are stratus, cumulus, and cirrus. Stratus clouds are horizontal, layered clouds. They look like blankets spread out in the sky. Cumulus clouds are puffy. They look like large cottonballs. Cirrus clouds are thin and wispy. They are called "mares' tails" because they look like tiny hairs brushed across the sky. Clouds are also named according to their altitude or height. There are low-level clouds, mid-level clouds, and high-level clouds. Low-level clouds have a base below 2,000 meters. Mid-level clouds have a base between 2,000 and 6,000 meters. Mid-level clouds have the prefix alto-'. High-level clouds have a base above 6,000 meters. High-level clouds begin with cirro-.' Clouds are named with the prefix nimbo-' if they are producing precipitation. So, a nimbostratus cloud is a low-level, layered rain cloud.


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