Read these 10 All About Clouds Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Weather tips and hundreds of other topics.
Clouds form when air is heated by the sun and rises. As the air climbs it continues to slowly cool until a saturation point is reached and the water droplets condense, forming the cloud. As long as the cloud remains warmer than the air around it (cold air is heavy) the cloud will not actually float, but it will fall so slowly it will appear to be floating in the air.
Names for various types of clouds are derived from Latin and fall into three main categories; cirrus, the Latin name for a lock of hair, are the high-level wispy formation clouds; cumulus, after the Latin word for “pile” are the clouds found closer to the surface of the earth; and stratus, from the Latin word meaning “layers”.
Clouds can either warm or cool down the Earth. Have you ever noticed that on a clear winter night with no clouds the temperature drops much lower than if clouds were present? Clouds cool the Earth by reflecting sunlight back into space. Clouds also help heat the Earth by absorbing infrared radiation and acting as an insulating blanket, keeping the heat from escaping.
Clouds are visible masses of liquid water droplets that are suspended in the atmosphere above the surface of the Earth. They form as a result of condensation of water vapor. Clouds can form near warm and cold fronts, where air flows up the sides of mountains and cools as it rises, and where warm air travels over a colder surface.
Man has long sought methods by which to somehow exercise control over the weather. While that hasn't happened yet, man has found ways to help Mother Nature. In the late 1940s scientists discovered that dropping dry ice granules through super-cooled clouds could produce precipitation. However, cloud seeding is not a reliable technique for producing rain.