Mid-Altitude Cloud Classification

July 02, 2009

20090702 – Mid-Altitude Cloud Classification

Photographer: Doug Zubenel
Summary Authors: Doug Zubenel, Jim Foster

I was out with my kids at an area park near De Soto, Kansas one afternoon this spring and observed these interesting clouds above the lush canopy. While at the park, I wasn’t sure just what kind of clouds they were but based on the cloud atlas of Bernhard Muhr (Wolkenatlas), I believe that they’re likely Altocumulus floccus virga. Mr. Muhr concurs. What do you think?

Altocumulus floccus virga often appear as tufts of white clouds having rounded or bulging tops. Frequently, virga (fibrous trails of falling rain or ice, which evaporate before reaching the surface) is seen extending from their frizzy bases. They may be indicative of an approaching frontal system -- unstable atmospheric conditions. Photo taken on May 31, 2009.