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Cloud Formations, Continued - 14220_303
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Cloud  Characteristics,  Continued - 14220_305
Cloud Characteristics High-Etage Clouds Cirrus  (CI)  clouds  are  detached  clouds  of  delicate  and  stringy appearance,  generally  white  in  color,  without  shading.  They  appear  in the  most  varied  forms,  such  as  isolated  tufts,  lines  drawn  across  the  sky, branching  featherlike  plumes,  and  curved  lines  ending  in  tufts. Cirrus  clouds  are  composed  of  ice  crystals;  hence  their  transparent character  depends  upon  the  degree  of  separation  of  the  crystals.  Before sunrise  and  after  sunset,  cirrus  clouds  may  still  be  colored  bright  yellow or  red.  Being  high-altitude  clouds,  they  light  up  before  lower  clouds and  fade  out  much  later.  Cirrus  clouds  often  indicate  the  direction  in which  a  storm  lies. Cirrocumulus  (CC)  clouds,  commonly  called  mackerel  sky,  look  like rippled  sand  or  like  cirrus  clouds  containing  globular  masses  of  cotton, usually  without  shadows.  Cirrocumulus  clouds  indicate  that  a  storm probably  is  approaching. Cirrostratus  (CS)  clouds  are  a  thin  whitish  veil  that  does  not  blur  the outlines  of  the  Sun  or  Moon  but  gives  rise  to  halos  (colored  or  whitish rings  and  arcs  around  the  Sun  or  Moon;  the  colored  arcs  appear  reddish on  the  inside  edges).  A  milky  veil  of  fog  (thin  stratus)  and  altostratus are  distinguished  from  a  veil  of  cirrostratus  of  similar  appearance  by  the halo  phenomenon,  which  the  Sun  or  Moon  nearly  always  produces  in  a layer  of  cirrostratus.  The  appearance  of  cirrostratus  is  a  good  indication of rain. Mid-Etage Clouds Altocumulus  (AC)  clouds  are  a  layer  (or  patches)  composed  of  flattened globular  masses,  the  smallest  elements  of  the  regularly  arranged  layer being  fairly  small  and  thin,  with  or  without  shading.  The  balls  or patches  are  usually  arranged  in  groups,  lines,  or  waves.  Sometimes  a corona  (similar  to  a  halo  but  with  the  reddish  color  on  the  outside  edges) may  be  seen  on  the  altocumulus.  This  cloud  form  differs  from  the cirrocumulus  by  generally  having  larger  masses,  by  casting  shadows,  and by  having  no  connection  with  the  cirrus  forms. Altostratus  (AS)  looks  like  a  thick  cirrostratus,  but  without  the  halo phenomena,  the  altostratus  is  a  fibrous  veil  or  sheet,  gray  or  bluish  in color.  Sometimes  the  Sun  or  Moon  is  obscured  completely.  At  other times  they  can  be  vaguely  seen,  as  through  ground  glass.  Light  rain  or heavy  rain  may  fall  from  a  cloud  layer  that  is  definitely  altostratus. 10-8

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