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How Do Clouds Form?

Are you a cloud gazer? Ever amused of watching clouds in the sky?

Today, we are going to explore about the embellishing clouds in the sky which are primarily responsible for the rain, snow and other weather conditions.

CLOUDS are important because it affects the Earth's weather and climate. In the day time, clouds serve as a cover to the sky, shades the Earth and avoids sunlight from directly hitting the plants and human beings. Clouds reduces the intensity of UV light, visible light, and infrared radiation (IR) of sun and keeps the Earth cool. At night, clouds reflect heat back to the surface and keeps Earth warmer.

Clouds are tiny droplets of water ( in -30 °C) or ice crystals ( below -30 °C) floating up in the air. They are small enough to float that each cubic metre of air contains 100 millions of droplets. Clouds are of different shapes and sizes, ranging from the thin wispy clouds to feathery, fluffy, large and dark menacing clouds.

Clouds based on its altitude and shape are primarily classified as cirro (curl of air), strato (layer), cumulo (pile or heap of), alto ( mid altitude) and nimbo ( rain-bearing) clouds. The different types of clouds produced depend upon the temperature, wind and other conditions.

 Clouds formation is one of the nature's interesting phenomena. They are formed by the process of evaporation and condensation. When the sun shines, the ground gets heated up and the water from the ocean, lake evaporates( changes into gas called water vapour) due to heat from the sun. Air currents lift the water vapor up to the atmosphere. The air near the ground level is warm, and when it continues to rises, it  expands due to the decreasing atmospheric pressure and get cools off. This cooling process is called  ‘Adiabatic Cooling’.

The warm air near the ground level able to hold larger amounts of water vapor. As the air gets rises,  it gets completely cooled off and so it was no longer able to hold all of the water vapor it was able to hold when it was warm. At this level, the air is saturated and the condensation occurs. The excess water vapor begins to condense in the form of liquid cloud droplets. The point at which the water vapour begins to condense is called dew point temperature. The excess water vapour in the air begins to condense (in the form of liquid droplets) upon the surface of the aerosols or condensation nuclei.


Aerosols are the tiny floating particles made of dust, dirt, pollution from car, power plants. The collection of  liquid droplets around these aerosols sticks with other droplets and eventually form clouds.

Hope you enjoyed reading about clouds formation. Share your favourite cloud photos and write us about the memories and experiences attached to them.


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