Cloud maps

The cloud maps give you an indication on the type, the density and the position of clouds.

The kind of the coverage depends on the type of cloud. Cirrus (veil) clouds often cover the sky evenly: a coverage of 10% corresponds to isolated cloud strips; veils from starting around 50% cover, and become increasingly dense, so that at 100% coverage the sun is sometimes still visible as pale disk. With Cumulus (heap) clouds, the coverage usually corresponds to the distribution of the clouds: 10% corresponds to the presence of a few heap clouds; at 50% cover the Sun is often hidden, and with 80% only few patches of blue sky are visible; 100% coverage are observed only in the proximity or in thunderstorms, and the sunlight can lose 70-98% of its irradiation depending upon cloud density.

Cloud maps can be combined with wind (streamlines), precipitation (colour scale) or other variables. See the legend of each map for details.

Cloud cover

Cloud cover levels over Europe

Cloud cover levels over Europe

Some cloud maps show the average cloud cover density of an area at the time indicated in the map legend, expressed in percent (%) of sky cover. The cloud cover colour scale is usually from white to dark grey. For details, see the scale used for cloud meteograms.

For cloud height (levels), the colour scale ranges from white (high clouds) over light-dark grey (medium clouds) to red lines (low clouds).

You can also find cloud maps that show you the IR (infrared) detection from the satellite. This can help to know the composition of the clouds.

Cloud Height

Cloud height bottom

Cloud height top

The maps show cloud height bottom and cloud top height:

Colors indicate the height of the cloud base (in m.asl) as specified in the colorbar on the map. In addition, white, blue, black or no shading give information about the cloud top height. Please note that these maps do not include purely convective clouds, which are very difficult to predict. Convective cloud tops and base heights are available in separate maps.

The encoding of cloud top height is as following:

  • Black hatches: Cloud top lower than 1000m asl
  • Blue lines: Cloud top between 1000m and 3000m asl
  • No lines and no hatches: Cloud top between 3000m and 6000m asl
  • White lines: Cloud top height higher than 6000m (ice clouds, cirrus clouds)


Cloud cover from satellite image over Europe

Cloud cover from satellite image over Europe

The satellite images show the cloud distribution. The images show most of the actual clouds; small clouds, fog, clouds at night and aerosols may not be visible. In mountain areas, snow may appear as clouds. Consult the point forecast for the local details.

Satellite imagery is courtesy of EUMETSAT and the University of Dundee. For higher resolution or archive satellite images please visit our partner site at the University of Dundee.