Altocumulus clouds

Altocumulus clouds are generally associated with settled weather and will normally appear white or grey with shading.

Symbol: Altocumulus symbol

Height of base: 2,000 - 18,000 ft

Shape: Bands or areas of individual cells

Latin: altum - height; cumulus - heap

Precipitation: None on its own

Altocumulus cloud (Photo: Jane Corey) Altocumulus cloud (Photo: Jane Corey)

Altocumulus are small mid-level layers or patches of clouds - called cloudlets - in the shape of rounded clumps. These are white or grey, and the sides away from the Sun are shaded. Mostly found in settled weather, altocumulus are usually composed of droplets, but may also contain ice crystals.

The presence of shading can help tell the difference between altocumulus and cirrocumulus. Cirrocumulus are white but altocumulus can be white or grey, and the sides will be shaded.

Last updated: 6 August 2014

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