Cirrocumulus and Altocumulus Clouds

December 12, 2009

20091212 – Saturday - Cirrocumulus and Altocumulus Clouds1
Chris L. Grohusko
Summary Author: Chris L. Grohusko; Jim Foster

The photo above showing wavy cirrocumulus clouds and altocumulus cotton balls in a cerulean blue sky was taken in El Paso, Texas in early October 2009. I was on the basketball court at my apartment complex when I noticed this odd juxtaposition of mid- and high-altitude clouds. Bending along the spine of the cirrocumulus clouds (seen in the center of the photo) is indicative of wind shear. These clouds are typically found at altitudes greater than 20,000 ft (6,096 m) and are composed of ice crystals as well as supercooled water droplets; whereas the lower and puffier altocumulus clouds (bottom right) are primarily composed of water droplets. Photo snapped with 1.5 megapixel Samsung T339 flip phone.