Question
Thu August 21, 2008 By:

How are clouds formed?

Expert Reply
Thu August 21, 2008

Clouds form when water evaporates from rivers, ponds, oceans, and lakes. The air containing this evaporated water vapor rises and expands at higher altitudes where the air pressure is lower. The expanding air cools, and as this cooling occurs, the water vapor condenses (changes) from a vapor to a liquid. Many tiny water droplets form and a cloud is born.

Conditions have to be just right for clouds to form. Nature needs tiny droplets of water, something for the droplets to cling to (particles like dust, salt, or smoke) and the right temperature.

A variety of cloud types form depending upon their height, air movement, and the amount of water vapor and condensation particles.

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