Cumulus and its species

The last post was about Cumulus as a type of clouds in general. Now, let's learn something more about it variates. There are four of them and you can try to find the differences in the sky.

Cumulus humilis (top left) is one of them. It is a small, thin and appearing as flattened Cumulus created by thermal convection (rising warm air). There are usually no precipitations connected with Cumulus humilis.

The second one is Cumulus mediocris (top right) with its moderate height and sproutings at its top. It is formed the same way as Cumulus humilis and even the Cumulus humilis can transform into mediocris when there is more rising air. It is also rarely connected with precipitation.

If there is more rising warm air, Cumulus congestus (bottom left) is created. It is a high cloud with top in shape of a cauliflower. It is also the only Cumulus, which can be related to showers of rain, snow or snow pellets (little round ice drops, with diameter from 2 to 5 mm).

Finally, Cumulus fractus (bottom right) looks like a puff of cotton wool. It can be a disintegrating Cumulus or it can be created in thunderstorms after precipitation, which cools the surrounding air and a little rising warm air can form Cumulus fractus.

cloud types cumulus humilis mediocris congestus fractus

Image credits: Mabel Amber, dimitrisvetsikas1969,, Luiz Guimaraes