stratocumulus

noun
stra·​to·​cu·​mu·​lus | \ ˌstrā-tō-ˈkyü-myə-ləs How to pronounce stratocumulus (audio) , ˌstra- \

Definition of stratocumulus

: stratified low cumulus consisting of large balls or rolls of dark cloud which often cover the whole sky especially in winter — see cloud illustration

What Does a stratocumulus Cloud Look Like?

When a cloud type forms a broad "layer" over the earth, the strat- root shows up in its scientific name. The type called simply stratus forms a low layer of gray extending over a large area. Cirrostratus ("curl layer") clouds form a high, thin layer often covering the entire sky (but without the wispy curls of ice crystals that give pure cirrus clouds their name). Altostratus ("high layer") clouds form a darkish gray mid-altitude layer. Nimbostratus ("rainstorm layer") clouds form a low, dark layer of gray cloud that usually produces light but continuous rain, snow, or sleet (but not violent storms of the kind that give pure nimbus clouds their name). Cumulus ("heap") is the familiar puffy fair-weather type of cloud; stratocumulus is its more wintry version, which spreads out in a fairly flat layer, much less "heaped up", and sometimes dense enough to cover almost the whole sky.

Examples of stratocumulus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Huber said the stratocumulus tipping point helps explain the volatility that’s evident in the paleoclimate record. Natalie Wolchover, WIRED, 3 Mar. 2019 Such a setup would enable a more precise prediction of the stratocumulus tipping point or points. Natalie Wolchover, WIRED, 3 Mar. 2019 Low clouds fall into four divisions: cumulus, stratus, cumulonimbus, and stratocumulus. Catherine Zuckerman, National Geographic, 24 Apr. 2019 Within the lenticular category itself, there are several types: Altocumulus standing lenticular, stratocumulus standing lenticular and cirrocumulus standing lenticular. Kathryn Prociv, Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2018 Clouds come in all shapes and sizes: wispy, high cirrus, puffy cumulus, the low, gray stratocumulus layers that blanket gloomy days. Kate Marvel, Scientific American, 8 Dec. 2017 Low clouds fall into four divisions: cumulus, stratus, cumulonimbus, and stratocumulus. Catherine Zuckerman, National Geographic, 24 Apr. 2019 Clouds come in all shapes and sizes: wispy, high cirrus, puffy cumulus, the low, gray stratocumulus layers that blanket gloomy days. Kate Marvel, Scientific American, 8 Dec. 2017 Within the lenticular category itself, there are several types: Altocumulus standing lenticular, stratocumulus standing lenticular and cirrocumulus standing lenticular. Kathryn Prociv, Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stratocumulus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of stratocumulus

1845, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stratocumulus

New Latin

Learn More About stratocumulus

Time Traveler for stratocumulus

Time Traveler

The first known use of stratocumulus was in 1845

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near stratocumulus

stratocracy

stratocumulus

Stratonic

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for stratocumulus

Cite this Entry

“Stratocumulus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stratocumulus. Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on stratocumulus

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about stratocumulus

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!