Stratus nebulosus translucidus (St neb tr)
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Stratus nebulosus translucidus (St neb tr)

This picture was taken only a few days ago (October 2019) as I walked the neighborhood full of fog. It was early afternoon, and the sun was trying its best to break up the clouds.

Summary: This is a hazy, low-level cloud thin enough where the sun is visible, classifying it as stratus nebulosus translucidus (St neb tr).

Cloud Type. Let’s cut to the chase classifying the cloud type. This is fog, and fog is just a big fancy word that translates into the cloud classification world as a low-level cloud that makes ground contact.

Without a doubt, this is an example of a stratus cloud.

Cloud Species. Stratus clouds are associated with two cloud species: fractus and nebulosus. The fractus cloud species describes broken up and ragged cloud shards, where nebulosus clouds describe a murky, dull and hazy appearance with absolutely no definition.

Almost always, when you’re surrounded by fog, it’s just a murky cloud blanket. This example is no different. Here we’re presented with the nebulosus cloud species.

Cloud Variety. Stratus clouds are associated with only three cloud varieties: opacus, translucidus, and undulatus.

Don’t let the picture fool you! While the photograph does make the cloud appear dark, you can definitely make out where the sun’s position is. In reality, when I took this picture, you could tell the cloud was thin. It wasn’t dark, and the sun was clearly visible. The cloud isn’t undulating here.

So we’ve arrived at an appropriate classification. This is an example of the translucidus cloud variety.

Supplementary Features. Stratus clouds can be associated with two cloud features: fluctus and praecipitatio. There were no signs of precipitation when this picture was taken, and unlike last week’s lesson (straus fractus fluctus), there are no signs of Kelvin-Helmholtz wave clouds either.

It’s fair to say this example has no cloud features.

Cloud Accessories & Other Clouds. Finally, stratus clouds can be created through waterfalls (cataractagenitus), human-formed (homogenitus) and forest evaporation (silvagenitus). These classifications don’t apply here.

This week, the classification of the cloud pictured was determined to have the stratus cloud type, a single cloud species, and a single cloud variety. Thus, we arrive at our final classification: Stratus nebulosus translucidus (St neb tr).

A graphical illustration of a stratus cloud

Stratus (St)

Low, featureless layer

A graphical illustration of a stratus rebulosus cloud

Nebulosus (neb)

Full of vapor, lacking detail

A graphical illustration of a stratus translucidus cloud

Translucidus (tr)

See-through, sun’s position visible

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