Cumulus clouds are often precursors of other types of cloud, such as cumulonimbus, when influenced by weather factors such as instability, moisture, and temperature gradient. Normally, cumulus clouds have a stable atmosphere and produce little or no precipitation, but they can grow into the precipitation-bearing congestus or cumulonimbus clouds. The height of the base ranges from 1,200-6,600 ft (2,000 m). Three types:
Has an altitude of 500-3000 m (1,500-10,000 ft) with little vertical extent that is commonly referred to as "fair weather cumulus" and common in the summer. Precipitation is uncommon due to the stability of the atmosphere. Wider than they are tall.
Has an altitude of 500-3000 m (1,500-10,000 ft) and larger in vertical development than cumulus humilis. Are as wide as they are tall. These clouds do not generally produce precipitation of more than very light intensity due to stability, but may further advance into clouds such as cumulus congestus and Cumulonimbus, which do.
Has an altitude up to 6,000 m (up to 20,000 ft). Cumulus congestus clouds are characteristic of unstable areas of the atmosphere which are undergoing convection and light precipitation is common. They are often characterized by sharp outlines and great vertical development.