Cumulonimbus clouds produce thunderstorms, blizzards, torrential rain, hailstorms and tornadoes. Though they have a low base, these clouds are very deep, and they can extend miles into the atmosphere.Continue Reading
These clouds are so tall that though they're made of water droplets in their lower levels and made of ice crystals near the top. They are so dense that they are dark and menacing when viewed from the ground. This is because light is scattered by the many water and ice droplets in the cloud as it passes through.
A cumulonimbus cloud is created when convection currents interact with unstable air. Warm, moist air rises into the cloud, which leads to condensation and more warming. This contributes to fierce updraft currents. The ice crystals at the top of the cloud fall down through the cloud to create downdraft currents. These emerge from the bottom of the cloud as strong wind, which cools the air in the updrafts. Eventually this convection system stops, and the cloud finally decays.
However, in the act of decaying, the cumulonimbus cloud can release all its moisture in an intense storm. In other instances, the updrafts and downdrafts can separate and produce a supercell. This can produce a tornado.Learn more about Clouds
Rain clouds turn gray or black because thick clouds saturated with rain drops scatter sunlight coming through the clouds. When less direct sunlight gets to the bottom of clouds, they appear darker to the human eye. Thin clouds that do not contain a lot of moisture allow enough sunlight through them so that they appear white to observers.Full Answer >
Clouds that produce precipitation as rain or snow are called frontal cirrostratus, altostratus and nimbostratus clouds. Nimbostratus clouds produce the most intense precipitation but don't produce all the elements that constitute a blizzard. High winds and low temperatures are also required.Full Answer >
Cold fronts result in the appearance of clouds, rain, strong winds and thunderstorms. When these conditions pass, the temperature grows cooler, dropping as much as 15 degrees Fahrenheit within an hour of the cold front's arrival.Full Answer >
The main classification for clouds is based on their height above ground and they are categorized as high-level, mid-level and low-level.. Clouds are also identified by their appearance and can be named by combining the root terms cirro, alto, strato, nimbus or cumulus.Full Answer >