- What are Clouds?
- What is a Cloud Made of?
- How High Up are Clouds?
- What are The 4 Types of Clouds?
- Cloud Types: Diagram
Clouds are undoubtedly the most beautiful and fascinating atmospheric phenomenon. Trying to solve their riddle, we understand that it has a physical nature and is easily explained by physical laws. We have collected the most interesting facts about clouds that will be informative for children and adults.
What are Clouds?
The first direct observers of the clouds were balloonists, rising in balloons. They established the fact that all the observed forms of clouds according to their structure fall into two groups:
- clouds of water particles in liquid form;
- clouds of small ice crystals.
When an observer is surrounded by a cloud on all sides, it is no different from the usual fog being monitored near the earth's surface.
Like fog, clouds are formed by the condensation of water vapor into liquid and solid states. Condensation occurs either as a result of an increase in absolute air humidity, or as a result of a decrease in air temperature. In practice, both factors are involved in the formation of clouds. The decrease in air temperature is due, firstly, to the rise (upward movement) of air masses and, secondly, to the advection of air masses – their movement in the horizontal direction, so that warm air can be above the cold earth's surface.
What causes the air to rise? Cloud facts for kids: 4 reasons for the upward movement of air masses:
- Air convection in the atmosphere. On a hot day, the sun's rays strongly warm the earth's surface, it transfers heat to the surface air masses – and their rise begins. Cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds are most often of convective origin.
- Topography. The wind blowing along the earth's surface can meet mountains or other natural elevations in its path. Overcoming them, the air masses are forced to rise up.
- The appearance of warm and cold atmospheric fronts. The formation of a cloud takes place especially intensely over a warm front: when a warm air mass, approaching a cold mass of air, is forced to slide up the wedge of receding cold air.
- Cyclones. Air masses, moving along the surface of the earth, swirl to the center of the depression in the cyclone. Accumulating there, they create a pressure drop vertically and rush up. The intense rise of air up to the boundary of the troposphere leads to a powerful cloud formation – there are clouds of cyclonic origin.
Read more: Simple Kids Songs for Beginner Piano Players
What is a Cloud Made of?
We often think that clouds are made up of something very light but dense. In fact, these are droplets of water or ice crystals in the atmosphere. They are often referred to as cloud elements. This is the clouds definition. It turns out that at different temperatures the composition of clouds can be different:
- Clouds consist of droplets of water if the air temperature in the cloud exceeds –10°C. These are ordinary rain clouds.
- At temperatures from –10°C to –15°C, the clouds have a mixed composition (water droplets and ice crystals). Such clouds send us wet snow or snow with rain.
- At temperatures below –15°C, the cloud is composed entirely of crystals that turn into snowflakes.
By the way, if your child is keenly interested in various physical phenomena, you can find good educational articles, and most importantly – choose a qualified tutor for private classes on the UpskillsTutor site.
How High Up are Clouds?
Depending on the height of the formation, the clouds of several groups are distinguished:
- С. of the lower level that occur at an altitude of 6500 ft (2 km). Low cloud types include stratus and cumulus.
- C. of the middle level that can be located at an altitude from 6500 ft to 23000 ft (or 2-7 km). This level includes the following types: altostratus and altocumulus.
- C. of the upper level, arising at an altitude of about 16,500 ft (5 km) and above. This category encompasses cirrus stratus clouds, as well as cirrostratus and cirrocumulus.
What are The 4 Types of Clouds?
First, consider the most common clouds we can see.
White puffy clouds – Cumulus (Cu)
Cumulus nimbus (Ns) clouds
Stratus (St): definition and facts
The first three types belong to the clouds of the lower tier, and the next type – to the clouds of the upper tier.
Cloud Types: Diagram
The International Conference on Meteorology, held in Paris in 1896, was an important event in the scientific study of clouds. Then the classification built on the Latin scientific names of Luke Howard was approved, and the convention on the grouping of clouds according to their height was created.
The result of this conference was the International Cloud Atlas. Today, this document contains 10 types of clouds. The two main classification criteria are the height of the formation and the appearance of the cloud. These types are also characterized by the fact that they can help to determine the weather.
The diagram is based on the materials of the World Meteorological Organization.
However, there are 3 types that are extremely rare. Unique types of clouds and their meanings.
And finally, the highest clouds in the Earth's atmosphere.
It is best to study such physical and meteorological phenomena in practice, with observations and solving problems, and most importantly under the guidance of an experienced tutor. Only thus a student can understand the essence of these processes and will immediately try to apply his/her knowledge purposefully. And a teacher will find the right approach for you.