How To Read Cloud Formations

Telling the weather by just looking at the clouds and the way they appear is not just a simple child’s thing, as some of us would see it. In fact, the way a cloud looks can tell us a lot of what weather to expect in a day or two. Cloud appearances hold extensive, valuable information for us. All we have to do is to find a way to decipher this much-needed information. There are various sites online containing information about clouds to help us understand them better. They have all been figured out a long time ago (so much for the deciphering). At least that helps make life a lot easier. All that is left for us to do now is to read and understand the valuable information that our elders have left us. This article will discuss a simplified form of the different common cloud types and cloud formations.

There are three common cloud types, The High Clouds, Middle Clouds and the Low Clouds. These three common cloud types include all the other sub-categories of clouds. Aside from this there are also two divisions of clouds according to their altitudes, the convective and layered clouds. These “layered and convective” cloud categories were first introduced in the year 1802.

Weather determinant clouds are the following: Cirrus, Cirrocumulus and the Stratocumulus. These clouds bring about fair weather. Although the Stratocumulus cloud may have a dark color, it does not bring in any rain. Clouds that bring either a shower, rain or a storm are Cirrostratus, Altostratus, Altocumulus, Stratus, Nimbostratus, Cumulus and the Cumulonimbus.

Some of us base the weather on the cloud’s color by simply looking if the cloud is white or black. We are then able to tell if there will be rain showers or not. However, there is a lot going on beneath the simple color change of a cloud. The color of the cloud tells us what is going on inside a cloud. Clouds are formed from water vapor. As water vapor becomes warmer it becomes lighter, allowing it to rise up, and then that water vapor cools out of the air and becomes ”micro droplets”. These are tiny particles of water that come together to form a cloud, and as its density rises, spaces between these “micro droplets” become less.

Once the sunlight hits a cloud, the light gets reflected back out before it can even get through, giving the cloud its white color. As time passes the “micro droplets” combine and form larger droplets that in time will become large enough to fall down as rain. This process is called “accumulation”. When this happens the spaces between the droplets increases. When sunlight hits the cloud, the light is not reflected back out but gets absorbed, trapping the sunlight and giving the cloud its dark to black color.

Other colors that occur in clouds happen naturally. As a cloud forms, scattered sunlight inside the cloud gives it a bluish-grey color. When a cloud has some ice formations inside, it a cloud may reflect a “greenish tinge” indicating strong winds, possible tornado occurrences and heavy rains.


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