Cirrocumulus clouds exhibit features from both cumulus and cirrus clouds but should not be confused with altocumulus clouds. While the two can look similar, cirrocumulus does not have shading and some parts of altocumulus are darker than the rest. Cirrocumulus cloud comes after cirrus cloud during warm frontal system.
Cirrostratus clouds have a sheet-like appearance that can look like a curly blanket covering the sky. They’re quite translucent which makes it easy for the sun or the moon to peer through. Their color varies from light gray to white and the fibrous bands can vary widely in thickness. Purely white cirrostratus clouds signify these have stored misture, indicating the presence of a warm frontal system.
Altocumulus clouds form at a lower altitude so they’re largely made of water droplets though they may retain ice crystals when forming higher up. They usually appear between lower stratus clouds and higher cirrus clouds, and normally precede altostratus when a warm frontal system is advancing.
They’re uniformly gray, smooth, and mostly featureless which is why they’re sometimes called ‘boring clouds’. You’ll commonly see this types of clouds in an advancing warm frontal system, preceding nimbostratus clouds.
The name Nimbostratus comes from the Latin words nimbus which means “rain” and stratus for “spread out”. These gloomy clouds are the heavy rain bearers out there forming thick and dark layers of clouds that can completely block out the sun. Though they belong to the middle-level category, they may sometimes descend to lower altitudes.
Cumulonimbus is fluffy and white like cumulus but the cloud formations are far larger. It’s a vertical developing type of cloud whose base grows from one to up to eight kilometers, hence it’s commonly called a tower cloud.