Types of Clouds

The above cloud is known as a towering cumulus cloud or TCU for short. TCU clouds are a form of cumulus clouds. They are the second stage of the cumulus family. The thing that makes these clouds unique is the vertical extent of them. They can extend very high into the atmosphere and sometimes they form in multiple rows. Towering Cumulus clouds can bring waterspouts when they are over the open waters and they are responsible for heavy rain. TCU Clouds have two types of air within them. They have warm moist air on the front side which is rising up into the cloud, while on the back side of the cloud there is cold air which is sinking down towards the ground and this is where the precipitation shield is within the TCU cloud. TCU clouds are most common in a warm and moist environment. They can form anywhere there is warm moist air present. In the Northern Hemisphere it is possible to see these clouds extend all the way into Canada during the summer months. They also are found in Australia most commonly during their spring and summer months.

Image Caption: Image shot from the Western Pacific Ocean near Guam. Credit: Joshua Kelly