Cirrus clouds - thin and wispy clouds
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Cirrus clouds

Cirrus clouds
Cirrus clouds

April 2016 - Most of the time, you see cirrus clouds very high up in the sky, looking thin and wispy, like someone pulled a bigger cloud apart into little bits of cloud. Cirrus (SIR-russ) clouds look thin because they are made of ice crystals, not water drops. They form where it is high enough to be cold and freeze the water drops into ice.

thin white streaks across a blue background
More cirrus clouds

Sometimes you might think you see cirrus clouds when it's really only the trail of an airplane, half blown away and spreading across the sky. But either way, if the sky is blue with only these thin cirrus clouds high up in it, you can be pretty sure it's going to be a nice day.

Learn by doing: go outside and try to identify the different clouds you see
More about clouds

Bibliography and further reading about the atmosphere:

Learn by Doing - Clouds
More about clouds
More about Thunderstorms
More about Weather
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Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

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With Mother's Day coming up, remember the Mother Goddesses: Mut, Isis, Gaia, Hera, Demeter, Parvati, and the Corn Mother. And honor powerful mothers: Ankhesenpepi II, Agrippina, Wu Chao, Blanche of Castile, Catherine de' Medici, Hamida Banu and Nur Jahan, Nurbanu Sultan, Sofia Baffo, Xiaozhuang, Anne of Austria. A great Mother's Day story: Kleobis and Biton.