QUIZ: Can You Name The Cloud Type Based On A Photo?

Not all clouds are equal. Some are puffy and light; others, dark and foreboding. Some form from water droplets or miniature snowflakes. Clouds form on one of three altitudes--high, mid-level and low--that determine their shape and weather impact.

If you knew that much, you might want to test your cloud knowledge with this quiz. Can you predict whether rain will arrive within 12 hours? Can you tell the difference between the similar-looking stratocumulus and altocumulus? See how many cloud types you can name simply by looking at them.

Scroll down to start!

fine, transparent veil clouds of ice crystals float at altitudes between 6 and 15 kilometres
Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

1. Which cloud type is the one that kids learn to draw at an early age?

Clouds hang over the multi-story adobe residential complex at Taos Pueblo in Taos, New Mexico

Correct!

Incorrect!

Cumulus clouds are the rounded, puffy clouds that appear on sunny days. They occur when the sun heats the ground below them, a process called diurnal convection. Hence, cumulus clouds are sometimes called "fair weather" clouds.
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

1. Which cloud type is the one that kids learn to draw at an early age?

  • Cumulus Cumulus
  • Cumulonimbus Cumulonimbus
  • Altocumulus Altocumulus
  • Cirrus Cirrus

2. This isn't fog, but a flat, gray blanket of a cloud.

Alaska, Kodiak Island Dark Clouds Over Frazer Lake.

Correct!

Incorrect!

Stratus clouds form a layer of featureless gray that signal rain or snow. Unlike altostratus and nimbostratus, stratus clouds form close to the ground when warm, wet air collides with cold air.
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

2. This isn't fog, but a flat, gray blanket of a cloud.

  • Nimbostratus Nimbostratus
  • Stratus Stratus
  • Altostratus Altostratus
  • Stratocumulus Stratocumulus

3. Which thin, wispy clouds form 20,000 feet above the ground?

fine, transparent veil clouds of ice crystals float at altitudes between 6 and 15 kilometres

Correct!

Incorrect!

Cirrus clouds are made of tiny ice crystals rather than water droplets. You may see them during fair weather right before warm fronts and tropical storms. In Latin, "cirrus" means "curl of hair."
Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

3. Which thin, wispy clouds form 20,000 feet above the ground?

  • Cirrus Cirrus
  • Stratocumulus Stratocumulus
  • Altocumulus Altocumulus
  • Cirrocumulus Cirrocumulus

4. What is the quintessential rain cloud called?

Weather front approaching on the London skyline.

Correct!

Incorrect!

Nimbostratus clouds efface the sun with a dark, thick layer. Although they hang low, nimbostratus clouds often begin forming in the middle level of the atmosphere. You can expect rain, snow, or sleet from this cloud, but no rain or thunder.
Arcaid/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

4. What is the quintessential rain cloud called?

  • Stratus Stratus
  • Nimbostratus Nimbostratus
  • Cumulonimbus Cumulonimbus
  • Altocumulus Altocumulus

5. These mid-level atmosphere clouds that dot the sky are nicknamed "sheep backs."

A certain type of cumulus clouds appear over buildings of Xinhua News Agency in Beijing, China

Correct!

Incorrect!

Altocumulus clouds are high, greyish-white puffballs that dot the sky. They usually appear on warm, humid mornings, especially during summer. To tell altocumulus apart from stratocumulus, hold your hand up to the sky: if the clouds are thumb-sized, they're altocumulus.
Wang Junfeng/VCG via Getty Images

5. These mid-level atmosphere clouds that dot the sky are nicknamed "sheep backs."

  • Stratus Stratus
  • Cirrocumulus Cirrocumulus
  • Altocumulus Altocumulus
  • Stratocumulus Stratocumulus

6. Which low, greyish-white clouds are larger than altocumulus?

Farmland near Deloraine, Australia, with sun breaking through cloud

Correct!

Incorrect!

Stratocumulus clouds are dark, round masses that hang mid-height, usually around 6,000 feet. They gather from weak convection and typically produce no rain. While altocumulus clouds look thumb-sized, stratocumulus will appear fist-sized or larger.
Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

6. Which low, greyish-white clouds are larger than altocumulus?

  • Altocumulus castellanus Altocumulus castellanus
  • Stratocumulus Stratocumulus
  • Stratus Opacus Stratus Opacus
  • Altostratus Altostratus