Cumulonimbus praecipitatio clouds are thick stormy clouds that will often come together before a thunderstorm occurs. However, you will find praecipitatio clouds giving a short amount of rainfall before the heavy outburst of the thunder or hail storm that the cumulonimbus clouds herald.
What height are cumulonimbus praecipitatio clouds found?
The level at which a cloud forms decides the type of cloud it will be. Stratus and cumulus are formed relatively low in the sky just under 6,000 feet. The next stratum contains altostratus and altocumulus clouds between 6,500 feet and 20,000 feet. The highest level contains the cirrus variety of clouds and these are formed above 20,000 feet.
Classification of cumulonimbus praecipitatio clouds
Although there are only three main cloud types, stratus, cumulus and cirrus, there are, however, other sub-types to each classification of cloud. The eleven types of cumulus clouds are:
- Cumulus fractus
- Cumulus pileus
- Cumulus congestus
- Cumulus mediocris
- Cumulus pannus
- Cumulus humilis
- Cumulus radiatus
- Cumulonimbus praecipitatio
- Cumulonimbus tuba
- Cumulus orographic
- Cumulus velum
How are cumulonimbus praecipitatio clouds formed?
Cumulonimbus praecipitatio clouds are produced when two different air streams, warm and cold collide in the atmosphere. Generally warm air is evaporated into the atmosphere by the sun and once it touches colder air it condenses and forms clouds. Once these clouds become saturated the water droplets will fall as precipitation. The amount and velocity of rain that falls will depend on the type of cloud base. Cumulonimbus praecipitatio are notorious as thunderstorm clouds and will yield a lot of rain over a short period of time.
What do cumulonimbus praecipitatio clouds look like?
Cumulonimbus praecipitatio clouds are thick clouds. They can be a variety of colors changing from off white to gray in the areas that contain the bulk of the precipitation. They are generally dense and can extend quite a long way. However, once the cloud is ready to shed its load then the clouds will quickly dissipate. You will not be able to see through these clouds as you can the cirrus clouds, as they are full of water, or even hail. They are vertically grown clouds and can extend more than 35,000 feet at times.
How common are cumulonimbus praecipitatio clouds?
Cumulonimbus praecipitatio clouds are very common. In fact you are likely to seem them whenever the weather is hot and sunny with a changeable weather front coming in. Being composed of water droplets at the bottom of the cloud, they can change to ice at the top, depending where the summit of the cloud ends.
Where can I see cumulonimbus praecipitatio clouds?
Cumulonimbus praecipitatio clouds rely on warm air for their formation, therefore, you are unlikely to see them in colder regions, such as the North pole or parts of Russia, unless there are extenuating circumstances that cause a great change in the atmospheric conditions, allowing them to form. They will be found in most countries that have a variety of warm, moist conditions with a smattering of wind and changeable atmosphere.