What are Clouds?
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Clouds are made up of tiny drops of water or ice crystals. They form when warm air picks up water vapour from the land or sea and carries it into the sky turning it into water droplets or ice crystals!
Let’s learn more!
- If a cloud name starts with “cirr-” then you know it must form very high in the sky (over 20,000 feet).
- If a cloud name has “Alto”- in it then it is in the middle section of the sky (between 6,500 and 20,000 feet).
- Clouds with “Strato-” in the name are found in the lowest part of the sky (below 6,500 feet).
Did you know…all clouds are white but can appear grey or dark when seen from below? This may be due to the amount of water they contain and shadowing by clouds above them.
- “Cumulus” – heap
- “Stratus” – layer
- “Cirrus” – curl of hair
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photo credit: Anita363 via photopin cc
Therefore a cloud named Altostratus would mean a cloud that forms in layers and sits between 6,500 and 20,000 feet above land.
The latin word “Nimbus” is used to name rain clouds!
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Clouds called Cumulonimbus are often referred to as thunder clouds as they usually bring thunder storms!
Thunder clouds (Cumulonimbus) usually travel about 64 kilometres per hour (kph). The highest clouds (above 20,000 feet) can reach speeds of over 160 kph!
An experiment to try at home:
Make a cloud in a bottle!