Cloud Types & Photographs

This section deals with the observation of various types of clouds. These are divided into three different layered groups: Low, Medium & High.

(These were first classified by Luke Howard in 1802 and are still used to this very day!)

1) Low cloud: (CL): These are from the surface to around 6,500ft over the British Isles. These comprise: Stratus, Cumulus, Stratocumulus & Cumulonimbus.

2) Medium cloud: (CM) : These are usually between 6,500ft & 20,000ft over the British Isles. These comprise Nimbostratus, Altocumulus & Altostratus.

3) High cloud: (CH): These are usually 20,000ft or above over the British Isles. These comprise Cirrus, Cirrocumulus & Cirrostratus.

Please have a look at these links to find out a whole lot more about clouds!–climate-guides/cloud_types_for_observers_rev_2014.pdf This is one of the best books ever produced for identifying clouds! The original book, called ‘Cloud Types for Observers’ (M.O. 716) was first published (totally in black & white) in 1962 by Her Majesty’s Stationary Office (HMSO) for the Meteorological Office. In it’s day this was a standard book that was issued to Met. Offices right across Britain! Now revised & in full colour, it is truly a great improvement on the original! Simply called ‘Clouds’- this is a superb factsheet produced by the Meteorological Office, with the cloud photographs again being in full colour! ‘Cloud spotting guide’ – simple, but to the point & very effective, this is another really good Meteorological Office online publication!

Here are some other photographs of various types of low, medium & high cloud. (Courtesy of the Telegraph magazine from very many years ago!)