Clouds are probably the most fascinating and beautiful of all weather phenomena. While there are a wide variety of cloud shapes and sizes, they are all made of the same thing: condensed water or ice.
Clouds are probably the most fascinating and beautiful of all weather phenomena. While there are a wide variety of cloud shapes and sizes, they are all made of the same thing: condensed water or ice. One way to predict the weather is through the help of cloud formations.
Clouds are formed when water that has evaporated from the Earth surface (water vapor) condenses into particles of dust that are floating in the air. The condensation happens when warm air rises and expands and eventually cools. This happens because cool air can’t hold as much water vapor as warm air and excess water condenses into either liquid or ice.
Sunlight is made up of the colors of the rainbow and when all these colors are added together it becomes white. Clouds reflect all these colors at the same time, this is the reason they are white.
Clouds turn gray or dark in color when they get thick enough or high enough and all the light cannot pass through. The shadow of the other clouds around it can also add to its gray or dark appearance.
Cirrus clouds are the most common of the high clouds. These are formed above 20,000 feet in the atmosphere. They are usually white and forecast fair to pleasant weather. These curly and fibrous clouds indicate that a change in weather will occur in the next 24 hours.
Stratus clouds are flat and layered. They are uniform and grayish and often cover the entire sky. They are formed up to 6,500 feet in the atmosphere looking like fog that doesn’t reach ground. A drizzle usually falls out of these clouds.
Cumulus clouds look puffy and piled up. They are often called “fair-weather clouds.” The base of each cloud is often flat and may be only 330 ft above the ground. When the top of these types of clouds look like a cauliflower head, they can develop into thunderstorm clouds.
Other cloud types include mammatus and lenticular. Mammatus clouds are sagging and pouch-like in appearance. They are usually seen when the worst of a thunderstorm has passed. Lenticular clouds look like flying saucers that form near a mountain.
Special clouds include: nacreous clouds(stratospheric), noctilucent clouds, condensation trails (contrails), clouds from waterfalls, clouds from fires, clouds from volcanic eruptions, clouds resulting from industry and clouds resulting from explosions.
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