By Richard Scorer
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Additional resources for A Colour Guide to Clouds
In the distance is a more continuous layer of fibrous ice cloud which is therefore called cirrostratus. There are some small fragments of cumulus, but the shadow of the cirrus is cutting off the sunshine so that there are scarcely any thermals to renew the evaporating cumulus. There is great contrast of colour here because the picture was taken using a polarising screen which, in certain directions, excludes the blue sky light. 20. As a low pressure area (depression) approaches, first we see cirrus perhaps like 19, and this gradually thickens into a complete layer of cirrostratus as shown here.
If there is a difference in wind between the top and the bottom of the layer the cloudlets are formed into rolls (See 32). 48 41. Stratus and Altocumulus layers at dawn show that the air is stable. The wind is light so that there are no waves visible in the altocumulus layers above (waves would form shapes like 28 and 29 if they were present). The layer of stratus below is at the top of cool air which fills the valleys and which does not move with the wind above; little fragments of cloud are being carried off the top by the wind.
We see here a cross section view of the kind of billow motion seen from below in 28. Ice Clouds 34. Cirrus may take a variety of forms. On the left we see feather- or leaf-like cirrus, with the ice crystals sinking rather rapidly along the spine but slowly along the edges. On the right we have lines of cirrus (similar to those in 27) along the wind which was towards the top right of the picture. Across these, and at a lower level (which could be seen because they were darkened earlier at sunset) are striations across the direction of the wind which are produced in the same way as 35.