Cirrocumulus are tiny, high clumps of cloud containing ice crystals. This type of cloud often forms in beautiful regular waves and ripples, making a pattern in the sky. The pattern is known as a "mackerel sky" because clouds look like the mottled scales on the body of a mackerel. They often form ahead of stormy weather with continuous rain or snow. They are clouds that appear at the high altitudes of 5-12km. They are a subtype of cumulus clouds. This type of cloud does not live long.
Cirrocumulus clouds have small amounts of liquid water droplets. The clouds are primarily made up of ice crystals, which makes the water in the cloud rapidly freeze, forming cirrostratus clouds and therefore these clouds do not last long. The clouds have the appearance of small, patched rows high in the sky. This is sometimes referred to as a "mackerel sky." At times, cirrocumulus clouds do form a type of sub-precipitation known as virga.
- Above 20,000 feet