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Height of base:

Between 2000 and 6000 m (6500 - 18000 ft) (mid-level clouds)


Patches of cloudlets, sheep clouds

Clumps, rolls or lenses with noticable shading and clear sky inbetween,

1 - 5 across (1 to 3 fingers at outstretched arm 30 above horizon)



Made of:

Supercooled water droplets, some ice crystals


None; may have virga


Too high fro thermals

Warm front (warm air sliding over colder air)


Stratiformis, lenticularis, castellanus, floccus


Opacus, translucidus, perlucidus, undulatus, duplicatus, radiatus, lacunosus

How to distinguish from

Cirrocumulus (Cc)

Cc elements are smaller than one finger

Cc has no noticeable shading

Stratocumulus (Sc)

Cloud elements are larger than 3 fingers width at 30 above horizon

Cirrus (Ci)

Ac can have fall streaks resembling Ci, however Ci lacks the dense fluffy head


Altocumulus Stratiformis undulatus

(Morris, April 2006)

Altocumulus radiatus

(Morris, October 2006)


(Morris, November 2006)

Altocumulus lenticularis

(Morris, September 2007)

Same as left, 5 minutes later

Altocumulus stratiformis opacus

Altocumulus radiatus

Morris, March 07

Altocumulus castellanus and cirrostratus

(Morris, May 07)


Morris, August 06

Altocumulus floccus

Morris, Jan 2008

Altocumulus lenticularis

Morris, May16, 2008

Altocumulus with fall streaks (ice crystals)

Morris, April 20, 2008




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Last modified: 5/16/2008

Maintained by Sylke Boyd


The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.