Focus on… clouds

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By John Davisprimary school teacher and educational writer

The role of clouds in the water cycle


Water – be it in the form of rain, hail, sleet or snow – cannot fall to the Earth without clouds. Clouds are made up of millions of water droplets. Sometimes, high up where the air temperature is below freezing point, the water droplets become ice crystals.

There are around ten main shapes of cloud. An Englishman called Luke Howard (1772-1864) first classified them according to their height and shape. Clouds were given Latin names. Cumulus, for example, means ‘heap’, stratus means ‘layer’ and cirrus means ‘curl’. High-level clouds, (those above 5000 metres) start with the prefix cirro and mid-level clouds (those between 2000 and 5000 metres) begin with alto. Therefore, altostratus clouds are mid-level and layered.

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  1. Kirstin McCreadie Assistant Editor
    on 2 June 2010

    RE: Activity sheet seven???

    Dear Sarah38,

    Apologies for the confusion over this, but unfortunately activity sheet 7 isn't available.

  2. sarah38
    on 9 May 2010

    Activity sheet seven???

    I only subscribed yesterday and can't believe how much material I can use to develop my topic on clean water, dirty water using the IPC curriculum. The yearly subscription has been worth every penny already.
    Is it me or is the resource sheet seven not here??
    Please help

    4out of 5