A Colour Guide to Clouds by Richard Scorer

By Richard Scorer

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On this occasion the low cloud disappeared first and in this picture we see the final edge of the cirrus which is moving away to the left. In the cold air on the right cumulus is rapidly developing as soon as the sunshine begins to warm the ground. This picture was taken at about 11 o'clock on a summer morning ; and further from the front where the cold air was deeper, showers occurred in the afternoon. 26. Cumulonimbus in deep cold air is here illustrated with the lower clouds leaning forward (to the left) showing that the wind is stronger at higher levels.

If the distance is known approximately the rate of rise of cumulus tops can be measured by observing the rate of increase of elevation of the top. This may be done by watching the cloud top move up beyond a pole (with lengths marked on it) at a known distance. 7. The wind direction may be observed by watching the movement of the clouds across the top of a pole while standing at the base. 8. The highest clouds remain illuminated longest and are whitest at sunset, and clouds nearer the sun cast shadows on those farther away.

This is a water cloud, and is in the shadow of some cirrus. 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.

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