Translucidus Clouds

Clouds are also classified according to variety depending on their transparency and arrangement of cloud elements in the sky. Take for example translucidus clouds. These clouds are seen in several cloud genera. Let's take a closer look as to how it develops, how it appears and the weather system it is associated with.

What are Translucidus clouds?

Translucidus clouds are clouds appearing in extensive patches or layers that are translucent enough to show the position of the sun or moon. The name was derived from the Latin word translucere which means “transparent” or “to shine through”. It is the complete opposite of the opacus cloud variety which obscures the sun and moon. However, translucidus cloud may develop into opacus when enough moisture has been stored therein and it becomes so thick it completely obscures the sunlight. Atmospheric convection caused by an approaching frontal system gives rise to the formation of translucidus clouds.

At What Height is Translucidus Clouds Found?

These clouds appear with low-level and middle-level clouds, hence, they can be found at altitudes anywhere from 6,000 feet to 20,000 feet from the ground. This cloud variety is largely composed of water droplets and ice crystals, thereby making translucidus clouds capable of bringing light rainfall or snow showers.

Classification of Translucidus Clouds

Translucidus clouds occur in the cloud genera of stratus, stratocumulus, altocumulus and altostratus.

  • Stratus Translucidus

Translucidus appears in thin, veil-like stratus clouds in which the sun or moon is clearly outlined. Stratus translucidus exhibit a gray-toned hue in the sky.

  • Stratocumulus Translucidus

Translucidus cloud in this type come in separate bands of whitish or grayish stratocumulus clouds with the overlying sky discernible between them. Stratocumulus translucidus rarely produce precipitation.

  • Altocumulus Translucidus

Altocumulus showing extensive, thin, white or gray patches making the sun or moon visible is in the form of altocumulus translucidus. It occurs due to the convection of humid air in the middle cloud layer. Precipitation should be expected from altocumulus translucidus in 10 to 20 hours.

  • Altostratus Translucidus

Translucidus clouds that appear in the altostratus cloud genus demonstrate a widespread semi-transparent fibrous appearance that shows the outline of moon or sun. Altostratus translucidus clouds often give rise to corona or haloes in which the light is spread out by tiny particles resulting to rings of reddish light to form around the moon or sun.

How do Translucidus Clouds Form?

Translucidus clouds form by the convection and turbulence in the atmosphere. This happens as a result of an approaching frontal weather system which forces the warm and moist air to rise to the atmosphere. As the warm air rises onto the turbulent cloud layer, it spreads out and forms bands of transparent clouds. If enough moisture has accumulated in the cloud layer, the clouds thicken and transform into either opacus or nimbostratus rain clouds which bring about heavy rainfall. On the other hand, translucidus clouds may also develop from a descending high level cloud such as cirrostratus which forms into altostratus translucidus or descending altostratus cloud which then turns into altocumulus translucidus.

How do Translucidus Clouds Look Like?

Translucidus clouds appear as extensive thin layers or patches of transparent clouds. They may be gray or gray-blue in color and reveal the position of the sun or moon. Translucidus clouds give rise to beautiful halos.

How common are Translucidus Clouds?

These clouds are common in any part of the world especially when a local frontal weather system is advancing. 

If you take time to observe the clouds daily, you might be lucky enough to witness the most dramatic formation of translucidus clouds displaying beautiful halos that add mystery to the sky.

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