Genus Altostratus

Above: Genus Altostratus

Genus Altostratus

Clouds are cotton-like structures that paint the sky. They are beautiful to look at, but more than that, they also help predict the weather. Clouds are usually composed of water droplets and crystals of ice but from an ordinary person's standpoint, they look like marshmallows, hung beautifully in the blue horizon.

All About Clouds

What are clouds and how much do you know about them? Clouds are formed because when warm air rises, and it expands and cools. Since cold air cannot accommodate so much water vapor, some of it condenses into the so-called dust that everyone calls a cloud.

A cloud is actually a product of a million dust droplets and they are white because they reflect the sunlight. Light is made up of a spectrum of colors and clouds appear white because they reflect all the colors at the exact same amount. When a cloud is heavy and saturated, light can no longer go through, thereby reflecting a grayish hue. This is what happens when a thunderstorm is fast approaching. They float because they are composed of air and they move along with the wind. They can move as fast as 100 miles per hour and they behave differently, as well.

All About the Genus Altostratus

The altostratus cloud is a mid-level cloud that can be found between 6,500 to 20,00 feet or 2,400 to 6,100 meters. It appears like a layer of sheets and since it is very thin, you can see the sun perfectly through it.  In color, they appear gray to blue, but you can find ones that are rather opaque, similar to stratus clouds. They are formed when a chunk of air rises and condenses into a cloud and can often produce some rain. Like normal mid-level clouds, they are composed of a combination of ice crystals and water droplets and their existence is derived from the thickening and lowering of some cirrostratus clouds that are on its way to transforming into nimbostratus clouds.

The Genus Altostratus in Detail

You can find a collection of genus altostratus clouds. You can look up at the sky now, look for flat sheets of gray, and you will know that they are altostratus clouds. But what are these clouds, really? Here is more detailed information for you:

  • The average genus altostratus can be found as thick 2,000 to 3,000 meters. This makes them quite thick, but at times when they are a little thin, these clouds can easily reflect the moon and the sun.


  • As mid-level layer clouds, they are composed of a combination of water droplets and ice crystals, and the ice will situate themselves at the top level of the clouds, while the water crystals will be positioned at the bottom.


  • If the altocumulus forms at the cold front, these mid-level clouds are known to form at the warm front. It is a product of the condensation of water so it can lead to precipitation, as long as the clouds are thick enough.


  • You might find it hard to tell between a mid-level stratus and a low-level stratus, especially when the clouds are quite thick. If this is the case, just try to look at the structure of the clouds. If you can make out a definite shape, then it is definitely a low-level cloud. However, if you are finding it hard to make out a definite shape from it, then it is safe to assume that you are looking at a mid-level stratus cloud.


  • These clouds are unfortunately quite dangerous to aircrafts because when they happen to pass any of these clouds, ice can accumulate on the wings of the plane.

Different Types of Genus Altostratus Clouds

This mid-level cloud comes in different types, and if you want to have a better understanding of the Genus Altostratus, you can find all the details you need below:

  • Altostratus undulates (As un): This type of Altostratus mid-level cloud is given this name because it appears as wave formations in the sky.


  • Altostratus radiatus (As ra): They are seen as parallel lines and a bulk of them gather at the horizon. When the sky presents a very lovely striped design, you can credit it to this type of altostratus cloud.


  • Altostratus duplicatus (As du): As the name implies, it is a pair or multiple sets of Astostratus clouds layered closely above each other.


  • Altostratus translucidus (As tr): Due to the translucency of this type of Altostratus clouds, you can clearly see the sun through it.


  • Altostratus opacus (As op): These clouds appear opaque and so they are able to offer complete coverage for both the sun and moon when they are set over them.


  • Altostratus mamma (As mam): They appear as very distinct shapes; often with wart-like or sac-like protuberances found at the bottom of the clouds.


  • Altostratus virga (As vir): This name is given to this type of cloud because they are seen with drop strips.


  • Altostratus praecipitatio (As pra): These clouds occur with frazzles because of the existence of more turbulent layers of dampness beneath them.

Weather Conditions for Altostratus Clouds

Clouds play a big role in weather forecasting. They are formed because of the changes that occur in the atmosphere and so they are very useful when it comes to predicting the weather. The color and composition of the clouds can say a lot about the weather, too.

When Altostratus clouds are lined in the sky, they send a definite message about the weather. As already mentioned above, they are found to be bluish or gray and when the skies are of this hue, you can already assume that rain is going to arrive anytime soon. Darkness in the skies is indicative of rain, and when altostratus clouds line the sky, it will be a good idea to take out your umbrella. In fact, the presence of altostratus translucidus indicates the onset of precipitation in 10 to 25 hours from initial sighting.

Back to Top