Any scenery is incomplete without the clouds in the background. But, how are clouds formed? This article will try to give you a basic idea of cloud formation.
How are clouds formed?
- When the Sun heats the Earth’s surface, the water evaporates to form water vapor.
- The warm moist air then rises up in the atmosphere (hot air being lighter rises).
- As the saturated air (holding all the water vapor it can) rises, it cools and the water vapor changes to either liquid water (condensation) or solid ice (deposition) depending on the temperature.
- The water vapor condenses on tiny particles suspended in the air known as condensation nuclei e.g. dust, salt, etc. and hence water droplets are formed. In case of deposition, ice crystals are formed.
- These droplets/ice crystals merge together to form bigger droplets/ice crystals .
- Cloud is nothing but a large accumulation of these droplets or ice crystals.
This is just a basic explanation of cloud formation. There are various factors involved in the process. Moreover, there are different types of clouds and they are formed at a wide range of altitudes.
Classification of clouds
- High level clouds (5-15 km)
- Mid level clouds (2-7 km)
- Low level clouds (0-2 km)
- Vertical clouds
Fun fact: The fog at ground level is a low lying cloud.