Have you ever wondered about clouds? Their ubiquity in everyday life probably sets them apart from the list of priorities going through our mind. Nevertheless it's quite a fascinating world which offers you a free way to spend some entertaining time watching the sky.
Clouds are no more than huge amounts of water droplets or ice crystals floating in the atmosphere as a result of water vapor condensation as warm air rises up reaching cooler air. Though usually transparent to our eyes, billions of suspended water particles induce sunlight scattering in all visible frequencies thus producing the familiar white color of clouds.
Depending on their format clouds can essentially be classified as stratus or cumulus. Stratus clouds present a layering structure whereas cumulus clouds have a stack like appearance with high vertical development which often resembles cotton or cauliflower . Altitude wise clouds can be classified as high (cirrus prefix), middle (alto prefix), low (strato prefix) or vertical, obviously according to their position within the troposphere. Combining these two classification criteria you get names like cirrustratus, cirrucumulus, altostratus, altocumulus, stratus, stratocumulus for clouds at different altitudes and cumulonimbus for vertical clouds. There's a lot more to be said though, among other things there are many sub classes of clouds taking into account specific shape characteristics.