Learn about clouds from the National Weather Service


Have you ever looked at a cloud and saw a face or an animal. I think most of us have, but clouds are more than their shapes.

Clouds can grow very tall or appear flat as a pancake. They are typically white in color but also appear in different shades of grey or in brilliant yellow, orange, or red. They can weigh tens of millions of tons yet float in the atmosphere.

Clouds can be harbingers of good weather or bad. Their absence can be a good thing after a flooding rain or bad during a drought.

They provide relief from the heat of direct sunlight but also act as a blanket to warm the earth.

Clouds help water the earth by providing precipitation but can hinder driving by reducing visibility.

They come in infinite shapes and sizes.

Clouds can be carried along by winds of up to 150 mph or can remain stationary while the wind passes through them.

They can form behind high flying aircraft or can dissipate as a plane flies through them. Clouds are not confined to earth but are found on other planets as well.

What are clouds? They are “the visible aggregate of minute particles of water and/or ice.” They form when water vapor condenses.

There is a lot to learn about clouds, but taking the time to do it will be time well spent.

Become “Cloudwise” by learning about clouds and how they form with this free course from the National Weather Service.

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