Studying The Cumulus Clouds
Cumulo- means "heap" or "pile" in Latin. Cumulus clouds are often described as "puffy", "cotton-like" or "fluffy" in appearance, and have flat bases. Cumulus clouds, being low-level clouds, are generally less than 1,000 m (3,300 ft) in altitude unless they are the more vertical cumulus congestus form. Cumulus clouds may appear by themselves, in lines, or in clusters.
Cumulus clouds are often precursors of other types of cloud, such as cumulonimbus, when influenced by weather factors such as instability, moisture, and temperature gradient. Normally, cumulus clouds produce little or no precipitation, but they can grow into the precipitation-bearing congestus or cumulonimbus clouds. Cumulus clouds can be formed from water vapor, supercooled water droplets, or ice crystals, depending upon the ambient temperature. They come in many distinct subforms, and generally cool the earth by reflecting the incoming solar radiation. Cumulus clouds are part of the larger category of free-convective cumuliform clouds, which include cumulonimbus clouds. The latter genus-type is sometimes categorized separately as cumulonimbiform due to its more complex structure that often includes a cirriform or anvil top. There are also cumuliform clouds of limited convection that comprise stratocumulus (low-étage), altocumulus (middle-étage) and cirrocumulus. (high-étage). These last three genus-types are sometimes classified separately as stratocumuliform. - Wiki