The clouds here at the beach can be dramatic. We have the west coast a few hundred metres away on one side of us (hello Australia, 2,000 Km further!) and the Tararua Mountains 20 Km away on the other. With an expanse of sky above and around us there are always interesting cloud forms to watch.
But what do they all mean? What are those fluffy white ones? The itty bitty streaks of high cloud? The grey and even black clouds? Luckily, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology can help, with its brief but clear video.
There are ten main cloud types, which are further divided into 27 sub-types according to their height shape, colour and associated weather. Clouds are generally categorised by where they sit in the atmosphere: low—from the earth’s surface to 2.5km; middle—2.5 to 6km; or high—above 6km.
Clouds are given Latin names which describe their characteristics—such as cirrus (a hair), cumulus (a heap), stratus (a layer) and nimbus (rain-bearing).
Now, if I can only remember the types, next time I’m admiring the clouds I may be able to put a name to them.