Guest Author - LeeAnn OLeary
Its something many of us do. What am I talking about? Why I'm talking
about gazing at the clouds. We do this and while we look to see what
objects the clouds resemble we can also tell what kind of weather we
can see by the cloud type.
How does a cloud form?
Moisture in the air condenses on the small bits of dust or other solids
in the air and the tiny drops of water that then form make up a cloud.
Clouds are actually bits of water that is suspended in air.
What are the types of clouds?
While clouds do come in all shapes and sizes the basic shape and
altitude of clouds is how they are classified. The three main types
of clouds are cumulus clouds, stratus clouds, and cirrus clouds. Each
type of cloud is usually seen with certain types of weather. Cumulus
clouds are the clouds that look like fluffy piles of cotton balls. Cumulus
clouds are white and very fluffy and have flat bottoms on them. When you
see cumulus clouds that means that you can expect to see fair weather.
Watch out thought when the cumulus clouds get larger and darker on the
bottom of the cloud because they then will produce thunderstorms. These
thunderstorm clouds are then called a cumulonimbus cloud. Another cloud
type is stratus clouds. Stratus clouds are smooth and gray and they are the
clouds that you see covering the whole sky blocking the sun and making it
a cloudy day. Stratus clouds usually bring rain. Nimbostratus clouds also
bring rain and they also bring snow. Cirrus clouds are very feathery and they
usually signal that rain or snow will fall soon.
Is it possible to control the weather with the clouds?
The answer to this surprisingly is yes. Scientists have investigated something
called "cloud seeding". Cloud seeding involves dropping dry ice into the
stratus clouds. This then causes ice crytals to form and they fall as rain or snow. Experiments have been done that show that with cloud seeding a storm like a hailstorm or a hurricane causes the storm to be a lot less powerful. Another use of cloud seeding is to help remove some of the fog at airports. If we could control the weather this way it would help many in the world. We could prevent droughts if we controlled the rain. Someday this could become a reality that we only imagined could ever be possible.