Clouds

A:

Clouds that look like cotton balls are called cumulus clouds. They form when warm, moist air rises. As this air rises, it cools, condensing into water droplets that become puffy clouds. Cumulus clouds develop from the bottom upward.

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  • How does a warm front form?

    Q: How does a warm front form?

    A: A warm front occurs when a cold air mass retreats and is replaced by a warm air mass. Warm fronts typically bring some form of precipitation to the area.
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  • What are the three main classifications for clouds?

    Q: What are the three main classifications for clouds?

    A: 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.
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  • What are clouds made of?

    Q: What are clouds made of?

    A: Clouds are made up of ice crystals and droplets of water. These form when water evaporates from bodies of water, such as the oceans. Once water reaches higher altitudes in the atmosphere, it becomes liquid and solid.
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  • How do clouds make rain?

    Q: How do clouds make rain?

    A: Precipitation occurs when moist air rises to cooler altitudes, condensing the water out of the air into droplets. Once these droplets become heavy enough, often by coalescing around motes of dust or other particles, they fall out of the cloud as precipitation. Without significant updrafts bringing more moisture to the cloud layer, the condensed water may remain light enough to stay aloft, which is why not every cloud brings rain.
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  • What instruments are used to measure cloud cover?

    Q: What instruments are used to measure cloud cover?

    A: In 2008, a group of researchers at Montana State University reported the development of a tool called the Infrared Cloud Imager (ICI), which was designed to collect data on cloud cover. For the novice meteorologist, NASA suggests a few low-tech methods of observing cloud cover, including a spherical sky mirror and a measuring system developed for the naked eye.
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  • How are clouds formed?

    Q: How are clouds formed?

    A: Clouds are formed when moist, warm air rises and expands in the atmosphere. The rising water vapor condenses and forms small water droplets which make up the clouds. When the water vapor cools, the low temperature of air lowers its capacity to hold water vapor.
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  • How do clouds move?

    Q: How do clouds move?

    A: Clouds move due to wind currents that carry them through the lower levels of Earth's atmosphere. Even if there is no wind felt at ground level, wind constantly blows through the atmosphere carrying clouds, air particles and dust with it.
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  • How clouds are made?

    Q: How clouds are made?

    A: Clouds form when warm, moist air rises into the upper atmosphere, where the cooler temperatures cause the water to condense. Depending on the altitude, clouds may be made up of water droplets or ice crystals, and these often form around floating motes of dust or other particles. When too much moisture condenses, the droplets or crystals become too heavy to stay aloft, falling as snow or rain.
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  • How does wind affect weather?

    Q: How does wind affect weather?

    A: Wind, or air movement, is integral to all types of weather conditions. Air pressure, which is largely caused by differential heating of the air by the sun and ground conditions, controls the way air flows, according to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. High pressure causes wind to blow slowly down and out, which prevents cloud formation; low pressure causes air to go up, which causes cooling and cloud formation.
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  • How do clouds float?

    Q: How do clouds float?

    A: Clouds float because the water droplets that comprise them are so incredibly tiny that they do not fall very fast. As clouds frequently occur in places that are experiencing updrafts, the force of the air pushing them up offsets the weight of the water droplets. In a cloud of typical size, the water droplets often weigh approximately 1/1000th as much as the air that containing them does.
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  • What does the saying "Every cloud has a silver lining" mean?

    Q: What does the saying "Every cloud has a silver lining" mean?

    A: The saying is a proverb that means it is possible to find some good aspect to every bad situation. The proverb is commonly said to someone who is facing a great difficulty and can see no positive way forward.
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  • What are stratus clouds made of?

    Q: What are stratus clouds made of?

    A: Like all clouds, stratus clouds are made of water vapor, water droplets and even ice crystals. Stratus clouds are identified not by what they are composed of, but by their general appearance, which is uniform, wide-ranging and gray.
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  • Why are rain clouds black?

    Q: Why are rain clouds black?

    A: 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.
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  • What are the types of clouds in a blizzard?

    Q: What are the types of clouds in a blizzard?

    A: 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.
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  • Q: How do cirrocumulus clouds form?

    A: Cirrocumulus clouds are composed of supercooled water droplets and form through shallow convection within thin labile layers of air. These high-altitude clouds form between 16,600 and 30,000 feet.
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  • Q: How fast do clouds move?

    A: Clouds move anywhere from 30 to 40 mph in a thunderstorm to over 100 mph when caught in a jet stream. Cloud speed varies depending on weather, altitude, the type of cloud and other factors. High cirrus clouds, the clouds that get caught in jet streams, are the fastest.
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  • Q: What kind of cloud produces hail?

    A: Hail is typically associated with cumulonimbus clouds. The formation of hail is caused by the supercooling of uplifted liquid below freezing temperatures during severe thunderstorms.
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  • Q: How do cumulus clouds form?

    A: A cumulus cloud develops from the bottom up in a vertical direction. When warm air rises and meets cool air, moisture in the air condenses and cools into water droplets that accumulate in a pile to form cumulus clouds with clearly defined edges.
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  • Q: What happens when cold and warm air masses meet?

    A: The meeting of a warm and cold air mass produces a weather system called a front. Depending on the season and climate zone, either cold or warm air prevails. If cold air dominates, the front is called a cold front, and when warm air takes over, the result is a warm front.
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  • Q: How do clouds affect the weather?

    A: When clouds are fluffy and low to the ground they make the temperature cooler, but if they are high in the atmosphere they keep the Earth warmer. They do this in several ways, including absorbing the heat transmitted from the sun. How clouds affect the weather is likely to change because of global warming.
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  • Q: What causes clouds to form?

    A: Clouds form through the evaporation and condensation of water. As water molecules shift between vapor, liquid and solid, they move through the air. When a small amount of air cools very quickly and reaches saturation, the water can condense and become a cloud.
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