Since the beginning of time clouds have been a mystery to people everywhere. Cloud formations have always been observed by people, many centuries before our time. They always wondered why some clouds were dark and others were white and fluffy. They also wondered why some clouds are so up high and others were so low that they looked reachable by the human hands. In 1801 Luke Howard wanted to find the answers to these questions so he began to study clouds for himself.
Luke Howard (1772-1864) is often called the father of meteorology because of all of his weather recordings in London. While Howard is not the first person to give clouds names, he is the one given the most credit for it. Jean Baptist Lamarck was the first person to label the clouds. His names for the clouds were in French, whereas Howard s names were in Latin. During this period of time, more people could identify with Latin better than with French. Howard broke the clouds down into four different sections. They were Cumulus, Latin for 'heap'; Stratus, Latin for 'layer'; Cirrus, Latin for 'wispy curly hair'; and, Nimbus, Latin for 'rain'. Howard’s classifications were accepted almost instantly by the meteorologist community.
The most recent classification of clouds was accomplished by the World Meteorological Organization in 1956. This organization lists 10 basic kinds of clouds that are subdivided into species according to their outer shape and inner structure. In addition, cloud varieties are discussed according to arrangement and transparency. There are height classifications which are called high, middle, and low altitudes. The different kinds of clouds are found in these three divisions according to the clouds' altitude. This is the system of classification meteorologists’ use today. They also still use the names given to the clouds by Luke Howard.
First, there are the high clouds that range in altitude from 16,500 to 45,000 feet. In this specific group of clouds there are the...