Altostratus Translucidus

Above: Altostratus Translucidus

Altostratus Translucidus

Normally, the earth's surface conditions plus clouds formation affect how the weather conditions for the day will be. As parcel of air in motion pass over the mountains and large water surfaces, it rotates, moves, condenses to form millions of tiny ice crystals and water droplets that in turn form the clouds as we know them. By watching how the clouds are changing, you will learn more on how the clouds affect the climate and on how Mother Nature operates.

What are altostratus translucidus clouds?

Dissimilar to other altostratus clouds, altostratus translucidus are transparent type of clouds; therefore, the sun and the moon can be seen through them. They are gray-bluish in color and appear on higher altitudes than altostratus opacus clouds. They are to be found in altitudes of more than 3000 meter above the ground. And when they thicken, they become more of altostratus opacus clouds than altostratus translucidus and the weather conditions after this tend to become snowy or rainy.

How are altostratus translucidus clouds formed?

When you have a hot humid day and the wind notably cooler than the ground surface air, a front (an area between two masses of air with varying temperatures) is formed. This in turn forms the clouds as they are known. Altostratus translucidus clouds are formed this way and when they form, they have tendencies to cover wide areas. They are very translucent type of altostratus clouds, hence their name. The moon and the sun are observable through them and form just before a storm. They carry a steady incessant snow or rain when they break.

As altostratus translucidus clouds are mostly comprised of flakes of snow and tiny ice crystals and forms very high in the skies, though lower than the cirrus clouds, they are often thin in nature. As such, the sun and moon is able to penetrate through them, thus it can be observed from the ground. This is why they are referred to as translucidus and are mostly formed when cirrostratus clouds thickens, just before becoming nimbostratus clouds.

What height are altostratus translucidus clouds found?

Altostratus translucidus clouds are formed slightly over 3000 meter above the earth’s surface and often produces a steady continues rainfall or snowfall. They normally look like stripes in the skies (featureless layers) and appear frosty when observed from the ground.

How common are altostratus translucidus clouds?

These types of clouds occur all over the world, especially in places where there is a wide mass of water around, for instance, at the coast. They are also common in mountainous places and are mostly observed in the morning, just before sunrise or at sunrise. When observed from the ground, sometimes you see what is referred to as a corona. This is as a result of light being scattered through tiny ice particles and others that give rise to the clouds. Rings of colored light (often reddish) are often observed around the sun or the moon. As the heat increases, they burn out or diffuse to produce a fuzzy-edged appearance.

Characteristics of altostratus translucidus clouds:

  • Transparent type of an altostratus clouds, hence the sun and the moon can be seen through them.


  • Forms slightly above 3000 meters from the ground.


  • Are comprised of tiny ice crystals and snow flakes and are thin in nature.


  • They can also cause a continuous sort of snowfall or rainfall.

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