How Do You Measure Clouds?

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Clouds can be measured by the height and appearance of the shape to determine weather conditions. Scientists often use a device, such as the micropulse lidar or infrared thermometer to determine a cloud's altitude and height.

  1. Use scientific instruments

    To determine the height of a cloud, enter the date or the month into a computer program to determine the average cloud height's in the geographic area. Point the micropulse lidar, similar to a telescope, toward the cloud to detect a height reading. Light from the sun and clouds reflect back to the scientific device, producing a potential altitude or height.

  2. Utilize infrared technology

    Point an infrared thermometer toward the clouds needing measured. The infrared thermometer determines the amount of water vapor that warms the atmosphere, thus providing a potential temperature of the sky. When clouds are present, the water vapor reading is typically higher, representing cooler temperatures.

  3. Plot the cloud formations

    Plot or draw the cloud formations on a piece of paper or computer to measure the amount of cloud coverage in the sky. For example, 0 to 10 percent of coverage often represents clear conditions whereas 10 to 50 percent of coverage indicates a scattered sky formation. When clouds cover 50 to 90 percent of the sky, the formation is considered broken where as 100 percent coverage is dubbed as a covered sky.