The best view is often up (or down if you are in the International Space Station)… so we are starting a “cloud collection”!
Stratocumulus clouds over Earth Jan 4 2013 and over Reigate January 13 2013 9am: spread-out cloud masses which can cover the sky: fairly flat cloud bases, often “rolling” (undulatus billows): low altitude clouds, usually occur at heights above 1500 feet to 6500 feet. Indicate stable atmosphere i.e. not much change in temperature with height (sometimes even indicate a temperature inversion where temperatures increase with height at a certain altitude), so not much upward convection, so the clouds don’t rise in height, so rarely cause much precipitation. Stratocumulus often tell you that the weather is not going to change much for some hours, watch out for them thickening up or rising in height. The photo shows “stratocumulus perlucidus” which are slightly broken up, allowing sunshine between the gaps. They differ from cumulus clouds by usually being clumps joined together, whereas cumulus clouds are separate and detached (caused by convection). It might also be true to say that any low altitude cloud that is clumpy, joined together and has a fairly bubbly top … is usually stratocumulus!!
Weather: 1.9°C, cloud height approx 2000 feet; wind direction north-east 5-10 mph.
Stratocumulus clouds are frequently ignored or considered boring. We think they are worth a second look!
Please join in our cloud collection by sending your own photos of clouds:try and name the cloud type if you can and tell us something about the location and weather at the time.