Clouds

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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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  • What is the name of clouds that look like cotton balls?

    Q: What is the name of clouds that look like cotton balls?

    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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 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 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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • Q: Why is condensation a warming process?

    A: The formation of condensation is a warming process because it releases energy into the atmosphere that causes its temperature to increase. When condensations forms, water vapor condenses from a gas into a liquid. The liquid state requires less energy than the gas state.
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  • Q: What are some types of clouds?

    A: The cirrus, altostratus, and cumulus are examples of cloud types. Wave clouds and hole-punch clouds are unusual clouds that appear rarely. Clouds are classified according to their form and height above the sea level.
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  • Q: Why do clouds float?

    A: Clouds float because they possess less density than the air around them. Clouds are composed of tiny water droplets and ice crystals that are only a few microns in radius, too small to develop any appreciable fall velocity.
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  • What are different types of clouds?

    Q: What are different types of clouds?

    A: According to the National Weather Service, common clouds that occur high in the atmosphere contain the ciro- prefix and include cirrus clouds, cirrostratus clouds and cirrocumulus clouds. Those that travel at a medium atmospheric altitude use the prefix alto-, and they include altostratus clouds and altocumulus clouds. Clouds that appear low in the atmosphere use either a strato- or cumulo- root, and they include stratocumulus clouds and nimbostratus clouds.
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  • Q: What cloud indicates the top of the troposphere?

    A: Cumulonimbus clouds are the tallest clouds in the sky, reaching well into the troposphere. Although the bottom of a cumulonimbus cloud contains water, the top of the cloud reaches so high that it contains ice crystals.
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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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