(Clouds at) 40 (,000 feet)

20,000 feet = 6,096 meters (10+3 )
40,000 feet = 12,192 meters (10+4 )
60,000 feet = 18,288 meters (10+4 )

Cirrus (Ci), Cirrostratus (Cs) and Cirrocumulus (Cc) are always the highest out of low, middle and high clouds.  The temperature of the air (polar ice cap vs. equator) determines the elevation of the clouds.   The elevation of these high clouds can range from 20,000 feet in the polar regions (to 40,000 feet in the temperate zones) to 60,000 feet at the equator.

An important note from the National Weather Service website: “One thing to remember, clouds are identified based upon your observation point at your elevation. From sea-level, you might observe stratus clouds enveloping the top of a mountain. However, if you were on the mountain top and in that same cloud, you would observe and report fog. The exception to this is cumulus or cumulonimbus clouds over a mountain…”

A Powers of 10 project would be to take photographs of 4 types of clouds at one place and compare to see how the temperature at the time of day (and time of year) were important factors in the shape and color of the clouds.  Or take photographs of 4 sunsets at one place to see if the colors of the sunset change depending on the season.

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