Stratocumulus cloud consists of large, rounded masses of stratus that form groups, lines or waves.
Height of base: 1,200 - 6,500 ft
Shape: Cumuliform "lump" at base
Latin: stratus - flattened; cumulus - heap
Stratocumulus clouds are low-level clumps or patches of cloud varying in colour from bright white to dark grey. They are the most common clouds on earth recognised by their well defined bases with some parts often darker than others. They usually have gaps between them, but they can also be joined together.
Stratocumulus clouds usually form from a layer of stratus cloud breaking up. They are indicators of a change in the weather and are usually present near a warm, cold or occluded front.
Stratocumulus clouds can be present in all types of weather conditions, from dry settled weather to more rainy conditions, but they themselves are often not the culprit. Stratocumulus are often mistaken for rain clouds, when in reality it is quite rare to get anything more than the lightest drizzle from them, if anything at all.
Stratocumulus clouds are grouped into four different 'species':
Last updated: 1 August 2016