Stratus Nebulosus

Above: Stratus Nebulosus

Stratus Nebulosus

Stratus nebulosus clouds belong to the family of low-level clouds called stratus clouds. Stratus clouds, to which stratus nebulosus clouds are categorized with, are one of only two low-level clouds the other one of which are the cumulus clouds. There is one other species in this genus and that is the stratus fabulus clouds. Stratus nebulosus are characterized by its sheet-like appearance, uniform base and horizontal layers. They also have a dark gray to gray color and when they populate the sky, the sun or the moon becomes completely covered. They actually look like fog or mist except that they do not rest on the ground.

What are stratus nebulosus clouds?

Stratus nebulosus clouds, unlike stratus fabulus clouds, are uniformly layered, foggish-looking and monotonous. These are the most common forms of stratus clouds. Stratus fabulus clouds, on the other hand, have a ragged or shredded appearance brought about by the strong winds that separate the former from the mother stratus cloud. Furthermore, stratus nebulosus clouds are formed in air mass conditions that are stable in contrast with stratus fabulus clouds that are formed in precipitation. These featureless clouds sometimes produce a small drizzle or snow grains and during very cold temperatures, ice crystals.

What height is the stratus nebulosus formed?

Being one of the species of low-lying stratus clouds, stratus nebulosus clouds appear lowest in the atmosphere in a height not exceeding 2000 meters or 6500 feet. These are unlike high-level clouds called cirrus, cirrocumulus and cirrostratus clouds and middle-level clouds named altostratus, stratocumulus and nimbostratus clouds which are formed higher in the troposphere. As such, stratus nebulosus clouds are among those clouds that are seen regularly especially during a cloudy day.

How are stratus nebulosus clouds formed?

As earlier noted, stratus nebulosus clouds are formed in stable air mass conditions. The process begins when a large air mass travels over a part of the surface of the sea that is warm. At this stage, the air mass picks up water vapor and continues to travel through the sea surface until it reaches the cold part of the sea surface. The air mass is then cooled and begins to form water droplets. With the help of the wind, the cooled air mass goes up in the atmosphere first becoming a fog while it is nearest the ground then becomes stratus clouds as it goes a little higher up. These clouds are commonly seen over lying over or surrounding mountains or looming over big bodies of water such as oceans and seas.

Classification of stratus nebulosus clouds

  • Stratus nebulosus clouds belong to the family of stratus clouds which are one of two low-level clouds. The other group of low-level clouds is called cumulus clouds.


  • There are two species of stratus clouds, the stratus fractus and stratus nebulosus clouds.


  • Stratus nebulosus clouds can either be in one of the three varieties of stratus clouds which differs according to their specific appearance namely stratus opacus, stratus translucidus and stratus undulatus.

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