Stratocumulus clouds are low-lying clouds that are characterized by their puffy, rounded shape and often appear in a continuous layer or patch. They typically form in stable atmospheric conditions, such as during the early morning or late evening when the air near the ground is cool and moist.
Stratocumulus clouds are usually composed of water droplets, but they can also contain ice crystals at higher altitudes. They often appear gray or white in color, and can cover large areas of the sky, but unlike stratus clouds, they are usually broken up into individual elements.
These clouds are important in regulating Earth’s climate because they reflect a significant amount of solar radiation back into space, helping to cool the planet. At the same time, they also trap some of the heat radiated by the Earth’s surface, acting as a blanket and warming the planet. Stratocumulus clouds are therefore a key component of the Earth’s energy balance.