Cirrocumulus Clouds

Cirrocumulus clouds are of a high altitude, that form around all latitudes of the planet, usually during winter time, at the heights between 5,000 and 12,000 metres. Cirrocumulus clouds usually signify strong convection and include droplets of liquid water that are in supercooled state. The presence of Ice crystals ensures the rapid freezing of the water droplets, which in turn turns the Cirrocumulus into Cirrostratus clouds. The appearance is dominated by grey and white colouring, which gives the clouds puffy appearance. The clouds are fairly translucent and do not possess a distinctive and fibrous look.

Formation occurs when the rising warm air reaches and gradually warms the Cirrus and Cirrostraus clouds layers. This forces them to rise to higher altitudes, where the temperatures of the surrounding environment are as low as forty degrees below zero on the centigrade scale. At this level the moisture undergoes saturation and eventually freezes, thus forming Cirrocumulus clouds. At times, Cirrocumulus and Altocumulus clouds appear together, and can be hard to distinguish, even though the Cirrocumulus is at much higher altitudes. The weather effects of Cirrocumulus clouds are quite static. However, the clouds are usually indicative of cold, yet stable conditions. However, in the tropical regions of the globe, Cirrocumulus formation may signify the formation or the approach of a tropical cyclone (hurricane). Cc castellanus, a type of Cirrocumulus formation is often used as an indicator for rather shallow upper layer, air convection and is therefore, a reliable indicator of an approaching mid day or evening thunderstorm. There are many different Cirrocumulus clouds that are identifiable by their general species, shape, size and other attributes that are specific to these clouds. These are: If the ripples in the clouds are lense-shaped and have sharp edges, they are called Cc lenticularis. Cc Castellanus, are tufted and turreted clouds. Cc floccus, small clusters of clouds, that have rounded heads and fuzzy bases. They have a surplus appearance, that stretches across the entire sky.

Cc undulates, has the appearance of fine ripples, that has a neat row arrangement across the sky. Formation occurs due to high atmospheric waves, which is due to wind sheer. Cc, Stratiforms, are extensive horizontal sheets of smaller clouds, covering a vast part of the sky and reflect red or yellow sunlight low on the horizon. Cc Lacunosus, when some ice crystals that constitute the cloud, vaporize, thus the formation is disrupted by large gaps. Cc Duplicatus, multiple layers of Cirrocumulus clouds at different layers.

Cirrocumulus clouds have rather short lives, they break down and disappear quickly. This due to the fact, that the ice crystals composition force the super cooled water droplets to freeze rapidly, therefore a transformation back into Cirrostratus occurs.

Get information on Cumulus Clouds from our another article.