Altostratus Translucidus

What You Need to Know:

Name(s): Altostratus Translucidus

Common Altitudes of Formation: 2,000 -3,500m (6,500-11,500 ft)

Signals: Thunderstorms or heavy precipitation to come, medium-level instability in the air

Meaning of the Name: The name is derived from latin: altum – height, stratus – flattened or spread out,translucidus-translucent

Elaborated, more comprehensive information:

The altostratus translucidus is composed of a mixture of water droplets and ice crystals spread over a large area making them either grey or blue and featureless or with parallel stripes.  It is a thin layer which the sun shine through.

The usually featureless layer of cloud can be differentiated from nimbostratus because of how the sun from altostratus cannot cast shadows whereas nimbostratus can.

Altostratus translucidus usually occupies most of  the sky with the sun shining through it. It tends to form at the leading edge of thunderstorm activity and warns of continuous snow or rain . The cloud is usually a thickened form of cirrostratus which potentially develops into a nimbostratus rain-bearing cloud. Altostratus translucidus commonly forms during morning time.


Altostratus Translucidus with Nor’ West Arch-Christchurch, New Zealand


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