Cirrocumulus clouds

Cirrocumulus are a relatively rare cloud forming ripples which may resemble honeycomb.

Symbol: Cirrocumulus symbol

Height of base: 20,000 - 40,000 ft

Shape: Layers or patches of cells

Latin: cirrus - lock or tuft of hair; cumulus - heap

Precipitation: None

Cirrocumlus cloud (Photo: Jane Corey) Cirrocumlus cloud (Photo: Jane Corey)

Cirrocumulus clouds are lots of small white clouds - called cloudlets - grouped together at high levels. Composed almost entirely from ice crystals, the little cloudlets are regularly spaced, often arranged as ripples in the sky. They are relatively rare, and unlike altocumulus clouds, never have any shading.

They can appear in waves that look like the skin of a mackerel and are sometimes known as a "mackerel sky".

Similar clouds

  • Cirrus
    All high clouds are a type of cirrus, a common cloud that can be seen at any time of the year.

  • Cirrostratus
    The thin, layered Cirrostratus cloud is composed of ice crystals and forms a veil that covers all or part of the sky.

Last updated: 6 August 2014