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Precipitation, which is a general term for rain, sleet, snow and hail, is a major factor in the earth’s water cycle. Precipitation comes from clouds, which are a mass of tiny water droplets or ice crystals, or both, suspended in the atmosphere. If a cloud saturated with water vapour cools down to its dew point (when water vapour turns from an air mass into a liquid or solid state) this water vapour eventually returns to earth in the form of precipitation. Clouds as you can see in these pictures reflect all visible wavelengths of light equally and thus are white, but they can appear grey or even black if they are so thick or dense that sunlight cannot pass through.
There are various cloud classifications but meteorologists generally use an internationally agreed form based on cloud appearance and height. This uses 10 principles:
Cirrus cirrostratus and cirrocumulus are high clouds, normally above 5000 metres.
Altocumulus and altostratus are medium-high clouds at about 2000 – 5000 metres.
Stratus, stratocumulus and nimbostratus are clouds at levels below 2000 metres.
There are also clouds which form vertically and so cannot be classified by height; these are generally known as cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds.
 

 
cloud01.jpg (1320542 Byte) picture cloud photo cloud02.jpg (1499263 Byte) cloud photo picture cloud03.jpg (1645356 Byte) clouds photo picture cloud04.jpg (1764467 Byte) cloud pic photo
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cloud-05.jpg (1343384 Byte) clouds, sw USA, picture cloud-06.jpg (1106424 Byte) clouds picture cloud-07.jpg (1131087 Byte) clouds picture cloud-08.jpg (1137693 Byte) clouds picture
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cloud-09.jpg (1213175 Byte) cloud picture cloud-10.jpg (1102675 Byte) white cloud pic cloud-11.jpg (1374936 Byte) pic cloud cloud-12.jpg (1329031 Byte) image cloud
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cloud-13.jpg (1178136 Byte) photo cloud cloud-14.jpg (1099774 Byte) picture cloud cloud-15.jpg (1177658 Byte) cloud picture cloud-16.jpg (1035721 Byte) cloud image
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clouds-b6zw.jpg (1451409 Byte) mountains clouds picture clouds-y0o2.jpg (1360198 Byte) vapour trail photo clouds-city-5t1.jpg (1359226 Byte) clouds-9ay3.jpg (1598712 Byte)
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clouds-6r4c.jpg (1654668 Byte) picture white cloud clouds-6xo1.jpg (1111707 Byte) picture cloud cloud-sl8w.jpg (1057747 Byte) photo clouds clouds-9v2k.jpg (1351116 Byte)
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