Clouds

By: Emma and Elizabeth

What is a Cloud?

A collection of millions of tiny water droplets or ice crystals in the sky.

How Do Clouds Form?

Clouds form as warm air rises and cools. As the rising air cools, it becomes saturated. When the air is saturated, the water vapor changes to a liquid or a solid, depending on the air temperature. At temperatures above freezing, water vapor condenses on small particles in the air and forms tiny water droplets. At temperatures below freezing, water vapor changes to a solid to form ice crystals.

How Clouds are Named

Clouds are named using Latin words and the name depends on what the cloud looks like and the height and width of it. The color will even produce a different name for the cloud to be called.

How are Clouds Classified?

Clouds are classified by the form and height of the cloud.

Cumulus Clouds

Description of what they look like:

They are puffy, white clouds that tend to have flat bottoms.

How do they form?

Cumulus clouds form when warm air rises.

Weather?

These clouds generally indicate fair weather. However, when these clouds get larger, they produce thunderstorms. Thunderstorms come from a kind of cumulus cloud called a cumulonimbus cloud.

Cumulonimbus Clouds

Description of what they look like:

They are normally dense towering vertical clouds that are almost black and are also flat on the top.

How do they form?

High winds flatten the top of the cloud into an anvil-like figure. The anvil part of the cloud usually points in the direction that of which the storm is moving.

Weather?

These clouds are known to bring severe weather such as heavy rain, snow, hail, lightning and even tornadoes and hurricanes.

Stratus Clouds

Description of what they look like:

They cover large areas of the sky and often block out the sun.

How do they form?

They are clouds that form in layers.

Weather?

May produce light rain or drizzle.

Nimbostratus Clouds

Description of what they look like:

Dark stratus clouds

How they form?

Form in areas of stable air, and often originate from Altostratus or Stratus clouds.

Weather?

That usually produce light to heavy, continuous rain or snow.

Cirrus Clouds

Description of what they look like:

Cirrus clouds look white, thin and wispy. They are sometimes called to look like horse tails.

How they form?

These clouds are formed from ice crystals that originate from the freezing of super-cooled water droplets.

Weather?

These clouds bring fair weather with cool winds.

What is Fog?

A stratus cloud that has formed near the ground.