Spissatus Cloud Species: Packed Tightly, Dense

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Definition: A thicker and less-wispy species of the high-altitude cirrus cloud

Description & Characteristics. Translated from latin meaning thick, the ‘spissatus’ cloud species is found only in the cirrus cloud type. No other cloud type besides a cirrus cloud can be classified as spissatus. A cirrus spissatus cloud is a thick cirrus cloud. This species of cirrus cloud is fairly recognizable and distinct. Often, there are other species of cirrus clouds within close proximation. The proper cloud classification abbreviation for this cloud is ‘Ci spi’.

Cirrus spissatus clouds can sometimes get thick enough to almost block out the sun, nearly resembling an altostratus cloud. While these clouds can be formed by a conglomerate of cirrus clouds at high altitudes, they can also form from the death of a thunderstorm that once had a fibrous top. When a cumulonimbus cloud dissipates, usually the top of the cloud is the last thing to go, leaving the remains of an anvil cloud (incus cloud feature). This type of cirrus spissatus cloud can be classified as cirrus spissatus cumulonimbogenitus, meaning the cirrus spissatus cloud created from a cumulonimbus cloud.

Because these clouds can form from dying thunderstorms, cirrus spissatus clouds is your best chance to catch mammatus clouds (mamma cloud feature) in the cirrus cloud type. As a cloudspotter, be on the lookout for cirrus spissatus cloud formations when you see either dying thunderstorms or on days where the sky is overly filled with cirrus clouds.

Cirrus spissatus (Ci spi)
Cirrus spissatus (Ci spi)
Cirrus spissatus (Ci spi)
A photograph of cirrus spissatus clouds (Ci spi) over a farm in Nebraska

Spissatus Cloud Types

The spissatus cloud species is only associated with the cirrus cloud type.

A graphical illustration of a cirrus spissatus cloud

Cirrus (Ci)

High, wispy streaks