Precipitation occurs when moist air rises to cooler altitudes, condensing the water out of the air into droplets. Once these droplets become heavy enough, often by coalescing around motes of dust or other particles, they fall out of the cloud as precipitation. Without significant updrafts bringing more moisture to the cloud layer, the condensed water may remain light enough to stay aloft, which is why not every cloud brings rain.Know More
Rain clouds may form in a variety of meteorological conditions. Commonly, they occur across frontal boundaries, where a mass of warm air is forced upward by a cold front, pushing a large amount of moisture into the upper atmosphere. This is the cause of long, soaking rains due to the sheer amount of condensation produced by the updrafts. Air masses may also be pushed upward by topographic features like mountains, producing rain on the lee side of these geologic features.
Another type of rain is produced when the sun's heating creates a convective current in the atmosphere. This energy heats the air near the ground, causing it and its moisture to rise in a relatively small area. This pattern tends to create small, isolated showers that can be extremely vigorous but may not move quickly, a common weather pattern in the summer months.Learn More
Stratus clouds are low-level, grey, fog-like clouds that often encompass the entire sky. They are uniform, often forming low-hanging shelves which lead to overcast days with little to no precipitation. Stratus clouds do not occur above 6,000 feet, and though they often resemble fog, these clouds do not reach all the way to the ground.Full Answer >
Clouds that look like cotton balls are called cumulus clouds. They form when warm, moist air rises. As this air rises, it cools, condensing into water droplets that become puffy clouds. Cumulus clouds develop from the bottom upward.Full Answer >
Clouds float because they possess less density than the air around them. Clouds are composed of tiny water droplets and ice crystals that are only a few microns in radius, too small to develop any appreciable fall velocity.Full Answer >
Clouds form when warm, moist air rises into the upper atmosphere, where the cooler temperatures cause the water to condense. Depending on the altitude, clouds may be made up of water droplets or ice crystals, and these often form around floating motes of dust or other particles. When too much moisture condenses, the droplets or crystals become too heavy to stay aloft, falling as snow or rain.Full Answer >