22 Facts about Clouds

Have you ever glared at weird clouds for hours on end, and imagined all kinds of interesting shapes?

Clouds are fantastic to look at, a great moment to let your imagination run wild.

Let’s go and have fun learning some interesting facts that you’ve ever wanted to know about clouds!

A cloud is a visible mass of tiny water droplets or ice crystals. The droplets are so small and light that they can float in the air.

Clouds can contain millions of tons of water.

Clouds are formed when water on Earth’s surface evaporates into the sky and condenses high up in the cooler air. 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.

A majority of clouds form in Earth’s troposphere (the lowest part of Earth’s atmosphere), but occasionally they are observed as high as the stratosphere or mesosphere.

It takes somewhere between a few minutes and an hour for clouds to be created.

Rain, snow, sleet, drizzle, graupel and hail falling from clouds is called precipitation.

Clouds are white because they reflect the sunlight. Tiny particles of water are densely packed and sunlight cannot penetrate far into the cloud before it is reflected out, giving a cloud its characteristic white color, especially when viewed from the top.

Clouds move with the wind. High cirrus clouds are pushed along by the jet stream, sometimes traveling at more than 100 mph. When clouds are part of a thunderstorm they usually travel at 30 to 40 mph.

There are a range of different types of clouds, the main types include stratus, cumulus and cirrus.

Stratus are flat and featureless clouds of low altitude, varying in color from dark gray to nearly white, and appearing as layered sheets.

Cumulus clouds are puffy, “cotton-like” floating in the sky at low altitude. It’s a type of classic cloud.

Cirrus clouds are characterized by thin and wispy strands, appearing high in the sky.

Fog is stratus type of cloud that appears very close to the ground. Fogs forms when moist air close to the ground is cool.

There are many variations of the 3 main cloud types including stratocumulus, altostratus, altocumulus, cirrostratus and cirrocumulus.

Clouds have been observed on other planets and moons within the Solar System, but, due to their different temperature characteristics, they are composed of other substances such as methane, ammonia, and sulfuric acid.

Noctilucent are polar mesospheric clouds that tend to form at an extreme altitude range. They can reflect the suns light well, after sunset and before sunrise.

There are 3 categories of clouds, depending on their height from the ground, low clouds, medium clouds and high clouds.

Low clouds are normally made up of water droplets and have a base under 2,000 meters.

Medium clouds are normally made up of water droplets also, but have a base somewhere between 2,000 and 7,000 meters.

High clouds are usually made up of ice crystals, and have a base somewhere between 5,500 and 14,000 meters.

In Iran, clouds are a good omen. To indicate someone is blessed they say: dayem semakum ghaim, which translates as “your sky is always filled with clouds”.

Hindu’s and Buddhist’s believe that cumulus clouds are the spiritual cousins of elephants.