Cloud formation


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A PPT on cloud formation and a series of why and how questions about clouds. Types of clouds are listed at the end of the lesson.

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Cloud formation

  1. 1. Cloud formation Inquiry: What, how, and why?
  2. 2. All air contains water, but near the ground it is usually in the form of an invisible gas called water vapor. When warm air rises, it expands and cools. Cool air can't hold as much water vapor as warm air, so some of the vapor condenses onto tiny pieces of dust that are floating in the air and forms a tiny droplet around each dust particle. When billions of these droplets come together they become a visible cloud!
  3. 3. Rising Air • Imagine a block of air (air parcel) rising upward through the atmosphere. • As the air parcel rises it expands! • This expansion causes the temperature of the air parcel to decrease.
  4. 4.  Condensation Rising Air • Imagine a blockair rises the atmosphere is As the block of of air (air parcel) rising upward through the atmosphere. cooler. • As the air parcel rises it expands! air, Cold air holds less water than hot • therefore, the water vaportemperature of the This expansion causes the gets closer (condenses) decrease. air parcel to & cloud droplets form! 
  5. 5. Formation… • This can happen through many different ways – Convection Currents – Lifting – Frontal Activity
  6. 6. Convection Currents
  7. 7. Lifting (help of mountains)
  8. 8. Frontal Activity (Warm & Cold)
  9. 9. Why do clouds float? A cloud is made up of liquid water droplets. A cloud forms when air is heated by the sun. As it rises, it slowly cools it reaches the saturation point and water condenses, forming a cloud. As long as the cloud and the air that its made of is warmer than the outside air around it, it floats!
  10. 10. How do clouds move? Clouds move with the wind. High cirrus clouds are pushed along by the jet stream, sometimes traveling at more than 100 miles-per-hour. When clouds are part of a thunderstorm they usually travel at 30 to 40 mph.
  11. 11. What are the different types of clouds? There are many different types of clouds and different ways to identify them. This type of identification classifies clouds by the height of the cloud base. • High Level Clouds • Mid-Level Clouds • Low-Level Clouds • Miscellaneous Clouds
  12. 12. • HIGH ALTITUDE CLOUDS: • Cirrocumulus – Puffy, patchy look with spaces • Cirrostratus – light gray or white, thin, covers most of the sky. • Cirrus – thin wispy and feathery appearance
  13. 13. High Altitude clouds ... Cirrus clouds are ice clouds. They can look like delicate white feathers or streamers. They are always more than five kilometers up where the temperature is below freezing, even in summer! Wind currents twist and spread the ice crystals into wispy strands.
  14. 14. • MIDDLE ATLTITUDE CLOUDS: • Altocumulus – puffy, patchy look with spaces • Altostratus – light gray and uniform in appearance. Covers most of the sky.
  15. 15. • LOW ATITUDE CLOUDS: • Cumulus – puffy, looks like cotton balls/popcorn • Stratus – light/dark gray and uniform. Fog! • Stratocumulus – irregular masses, rolling or puffy with spaces. • Nimbostratus – dark gray with precipitation falling from them. Bases are hard to see b/c of rain. • Cumulonimbus – large clouds w/ dark bases and tall billowing towers. Also known as “Thunder Clouds”
  16. 16. LOW ATITUDE CLOUDS (close up)
  17. 17. LOW ATITUDE CLOUDS (close up)
  18. 18. LOW ATITUDE CLOUDS (close ups)
  19. 19. Cumulonimbus clouds… …are a sure sign of bad weather Rain, thunder, lighting, hail, and possibly tornadoes!