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What are the names of the four main cloud categories?

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The four types of clouds are stratus, cirrus, cumulus and nimbus. Luke Howard gave clouds these names in his essay, "On the modifications of clouds."

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Stratus, which means 'something spread' in Latin, refers to continuously extensive clouds that appear like a blanket. White, wispy and hair-like clouds that seem spread out in various directions refer to cirrus. Cumulus, which means 'heap' in Latin, are easily identifiable by their fluffy white appearance with a horizontal base. The combination of cirrus, cumulus and stratus is nimbus, or the rain clouds.

Howard used the names of cirrus, cumulus, nimbus and stratus for creating various cloud combination names, which contain two or more of the four key types. Some examples are cumulostratus, cirrostratus and cirrocumulus.

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