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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.